Out-Law News | 19 Aug 2014 | 12:24 pm | 1 min. read
India’s external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said during a visit to Singapore on 16 August that the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, the Chennai-Bangalore Industrial Corridor and India’s northeast were among preferred regions for a boost in trade and investment.
Swaraj, who was in Singapore to launch a year of celebrations leading up to the 50th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral relations between the two nations in 2015, said Singapore could develop “a virtual city or a little Singapore” somewhere in the industrial corridor regions.
Swaraj said Singapore is India’s largest trading partner in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and one of the biggest overall sources of foreign direct investment (FDI).
Swaraj said “there is a rising tide in the flow of people and services and technologies”, with more than 6,000 Indian companies operating in Singapore and a large Singaporean presence in India. Swaraj said: “Engagement with Asean is at the core of India's 'look east policy' and Singapore is our gateway to Asean.”
According to Swaraj, new initiatives could include direct air links between Singapore and Guwahati, in India’s northeast, which she said was the country’s “Asean gateway for key links” including business, tourism and education.
“Singapore's expertise in smart cities, urban planning and water management strategies offer a valuable learning experience for India,” Swaraj said. “We shall work for setting up greenfield smart cities and for urban rejuvenation. Our experts shall identify the priorities and we shall coordinate its timely delivery.”
Swaraj said the World Class Skill Centre in Delhi, a joint venture of the governments of India and Singapore, is a “model for similar centres” throughout the country, including the northeast, where “Singapore's experience in skill development can be invaluable for us given our large requirements”.
According to figures from India’s Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (9-page / 576 KB PDF), the cumulative inflow of FDI from Singapore to India from April 2000 to January 2013 amounted to a total of nearly $19 billion, making Singapore the second highest source of FDI into India after Mauritius.
Singapore’s foreign affairs ministry said bilateral trade with India in 2012 stood at $24bn, making Singapore India's 7th largest trading partner.