New Delhi: The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee received His Excellency Dr. Tony Tan Keng Yam, President of Republic of Singapore and Mrs. Mary Tan at Rashtrapati Bhavan. He also hosted a banquet in their honour.
Welcoming Dr. Tony Tan Keng Yam, the President said his visit comes at a historic moment in bilateral relations when India and Singapore are celebrating the 50th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations. India and Singapore enjoy excellent relations which are multifaceted and cover every aspect of life. Singapore is a valued friend of India. It is a major pillar of India’s ‘Act East’ Policy. India appreciates Singapore’s contribution to its engagement with ASEAN. India is looking forward to embark upon a larger role in the Asia-Pacific.
The President said India and Singapore share historic links since the times of the Cholas. An important chapter of India’s freedom struggle was enacted in Singapore. The large community of overseas Indians in Singapore is a bridge between the two countries.
The President said Singapore accounts for one of the largest sources of FDI inflows into India as well as FDI from India. India invites Singapore companies to join in connectivity and infrastructure projects and participate in ‘Make in India’, ‘Digital India’ and ‘Clean India’. India would like to work with Singapore to set up Smart Cities and in urban rejuvenation. Singapore’s experience in skill development can also be invaluable for India.
Responding to President Mukherjee, Dr. Tony Tan Keng Yam said India was one of the first countries to recognize Singapore when it became independent. India-Singapore relations are trouble free and extend over many areas. Economic relations have grown strongly but there is lot of potential for further growth. The strength of the relations goes beyond economic or diplomatic. It reflects a deep understanding between the people and governments of the two countries. Building on the foundation of last fifty years, there is much more that can be done.
In his banquet speech, the President Pranab Mukherjee said India sees Singapore as its gateway to ASEAN. India shares a vision for a partnership based on shared beliefs in democracy, multicultural societies, rule of law, free enterprise, regional role and common links through growing people-to-people contacts. We are partners across the seas and an integral part of the regional architecture in the Asia-Pacific region. Today, both the countries are at an interesting cusp in history, witnessing major transformations. It shall be endeavour of India and Singapore to work together towards maintaining peace and stability in the region and bringing development to the peoples of two countries.
The President said he was delighted to learn that the Singapore Government will be installing a statue of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose in the India Heritage Centre at Singapore. Exchanges between the two countries during the commemorative year will help further intensify co-operation for the benefit of peoples of both countries and peace and prosperity in the region.
Sanjay Trivedi is honorary editor of Asia Times. He is senior Indian Journalist having vast experience of 25 years. He worked in Janmabhoomi, Vyapar, Divya Bhaskar etc. newspapers and TV9 Channel as well as www.news4education.com. He is serving as Media Officer in Gujarat Technological University, the university which controlling 440 colleges of Engineering, Management, Pharmacy & Architecture colleges in Gujarat.