Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivered this speech at the Joint Press Conference with India PM Narenda Modi during Mr Lee's Working Visit.
Your Excellency, Prime Minister Narendra Modi
First, may I thank the Prime Minister for his very warm welcome and his warm words. Next, may I express my condolences to the Indian Government and the families of the victims of the Uri attack. Singapore strongly condemns terrorist attacks of all forms.
My last visit to India was in 2012. Since then, India has been undergoing a transformation and there is growing optimism about India’s prospects. This is due to the dynamic leadership and the clear vision of Prime Minister Modi. The Prime Minister and I had a wide-ranging and in-depth discussion this morning. We took stock of the progress since we concluded the Strategic Partnership last year.
Singapore is supporting India’s initiatives like “Skill India” and “100 Smart Cities”. We are helping to set up a Centre of Excellence for Tourism Training (CETT) in Udaipur, in Rajasthan. I will be visiting Rajasthan tomorrow and look forward to launching the centre. We are studying expanding our collaboration to other states. We are very happy that we are able to witness the exchange of three MOUs just now two of which that were on developing skills. It is a follow up to our strategic partnership and I hope it will play a useful role in India.
Singapore is happy to support India’s efforts to transform its economy, and to give India’s youth the skills they need. We are also contributing towards the development of Smart Cities in India. As you know, we are involved in the master plan for Andhra Pradesh’s new capital city, Amaravati, and a Singapore Consortium is bidding to develop the core of the city. I am confident that our two countries can do more together in urban solutions and Smart Cities development across India.
We also discussed furthering our strong economic ties. Singapore, last year, was one of India’s largest FDI sources. And in turn, more than 8,000 Indian companies are present in Singapore. We should facilitate these investment flows and we discussed how India and Singapore can deepen our financial cooperation. We agree to appoint senior Ministers on both side. In Singapore’s case, DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam and in India’s case, Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, to discuss how we can come out new and innovative ways to cooperate and find win-win outcomes and to report back to us.
We also discussed how we can strengthen our air connectivity which can be a major enabler for the “Make in India” and “Incredible India” campaigns. This move will strengthen our links and send a strong signal to the world that India is serious about attracting investment and businesses. I am glad that Singapore Airline’s Scoot, the low-cost carrier, launched its maiden flight from Singapore to Jaipur, just two days ago. Jaipur has become the 15th Indian city to be connected directly to Singapore.
Singapore is a firm believer in India. We continue to contribute, where we can, to your remarkable development story and I am heartened that both sides are committed to deepening our bilateral relationship. I look forward to India playing a growing role in the region because we believe your economy and your influence will continue to grow for many more years. I am sure with that, our ties between Singapore and India will grow from strength to strength in the future.
Thank you very much.
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