Source: Economic Times

India is well-positioned to attract investments from the likes of Japan, US, Europe and even China given its geographical location, size of domestic market and relatively lower cost structure, a Singapore minister said today.

“The development priorities and economic agenda of the new Indian Government (also) present interesting possibilities for partnership with Singapore,” said S Iswaran, the Second Minister for Trade and Industry at a symposium on business prospects in India.

While it is still early days, the new government has announced several key initiatives, such as ‘Make in India’, Swachh Bharat and smart cities, he said.

He highlighted growing confidence in India underlining Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s strong leadership ushering in “an era of political stability, certainty and growth in India”.

Iswaran pointed out the five decades of good diplomatic relations between Singapore and India.

“We look forward to elevating the Singapore-India relationship to greater heights and through different modalities of collaboration at the Centre and also in the states.”

Singapore and India will celebrate five decades of bilateral diplomatic relations next year, which also marks the country’s 50 years of independence.

Addressing around 300 delegates at the Singapore-India Business Symposium, Iswaran re-emphasized Singapore’s interest in contributing to India’s mission to develop smart and sustainable cities.

“We have been requested by the Indian Government to share our experience in urbanization and city development,” he said, adding, Singapore’s public and private sectors could make a meaningful contribution from the experience gained over the five decades in developing the city state.

“We are, therefore, actively considering how best to work with the central government on its ‘Smart Cities’ initiative, and also with states like the new Andhra Pradesh on its Capital City project.

“This engagement will also enable Singapore businesses to participate in downstream needs and opportunities in areas such as township development, industrial and IT parks, as well as utilities such as water and power,” he said.

The minister also saw India’s important role in Asia Pacific.

“Looking beyond the bilateral relationship, Singapore has always championed and supported India’s integration into the broader region,” he said.

Iswaran sees India connected to 16 countries through the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which is under negotiations involving 10 countries in South East Asia as well as China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

“Given the scale and composition of the RCEP market, it is of particular significance to India, as it is one of the largest exporters of services, and its aim is to boost its share of merchandise exports through manufacturing,” he said.

“A high-quality RCEP will therefore be of significant value to India’s manufacturing ambition, and I look forward to India’s active involvement in this important regional integration effort,” he added.

The symposium was attended by the Core Group from the Confederation of Indian Industries led by the President Ajay S Shriram.