Significance of PM Visit to Singapore


  • The PM visit to attend the RCEP partnership negotiation which India is hesitant about.
  • The concerns with RECP are that it is going to be the only multilateral agreement with China and we already have a huge trade deficit.
  • China wants 92% of the goods market open from India but India is ready to permit only 76% to China and 86% to rest of the partners.
  • Moreover, they are hesitant and not accepting the proposal from India to open up Service market.
  • India is dedicated to Eastern countries which is reflected from the Look East policy to Act East policy.

India-Singapore Relations

  • The close ties between India and Singapore have a history rooted in strong commercial, cultural and people-to-people links. India’s connection with Singapore dates back to the Cholas. The more modern relationship is attributed to Sir Stamford Raffles who, in 1819, established a trading station in Singapore on the route of the Straits of Malacca which became a colony under British India, governed from Calcutta (1830-1867).
  • The colonial connection is reflected in a similarity of institutions and practices, usage of English and the presence of a large Indian community. India was one of the first countries to recognize Singapore in 1965.
  • India’s economic reforms in 1990s and the Look East Policy provided opportunities to recreate a new framework for cooperation, which included the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) of 2005. This robust relationship was elevated to a Strategic Partnership during the visit of Prime Minister Modi in November 2015 who signed a Joint Declaration on a Strategic Partnership with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. Defence Cooperation Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA), signed in October 2003, and the enhanced DCA signed in November 2015 during PM Modi’s visit to provide an overarching framework for bilateral defence cooperation.
  • This includes conduct of policy dialogues, working group and staff talks, exercises, training activities, exhibitions and conferences. Pursuant to the enhanced DCA, the inaugural Defence Minister Dialogue was held on 3 June 2016 when the then RakshaMantri Shri Manohar Parrikar visited Singapore for the 15th Shangri-La Dialogue. Exchange of visits and exercises are regularly held between armed forces of two countries.
  • Cultural Cooperation Inter-governmental cooperation in culture is governed by a 1993 MOU for Cooperation in the fields of Arts, Archives and Heritage. Executive Programmes (EP) on cultural cooperation are agreed upon for specified periods, the latest for the period 2015-18 was signed during Prime Minister’s visit to Singapore in November 2015.
  • ICCR and the National University of Singapore (NUS) have signed an MOU in March 2010 establishing a short-term Chair on Indian Studies at the South Asian Studies Programme, NUS. Indian cultural activities are held regularly in Singapore by various community organizations.
  • A number of cultural societies promote Indian classical dance and arts. Regional and community-based organizations are also active in promoting language teaching, yoga and arts. Mission also sends youth delegations from Singapore under various initiatives.
  • Indian Community Ethnic Indians constitute about 9.1 % or around 3.5 lakhs of the resident population of 3.9 million in Singapore. In addition, among the 1.6 million foreigners residing in Singapore, about 21 % or around 3.5 lakhs are Indian expatriates holding Indian passports, mostly serving in financial services, IT, students, construction and marine sectors.
  • There are about 1.5 lakh Indian migrant workers in Singapore. Singapore, however does not feature in the ‘Emigration Clearance Required’ category. Tamil is one of the four official languages of Singapore. Hindi, Gujarati, Urdu, Bengali and Punjabi are also taught in schools. About two-thirds of the community are Tamil. Punjabis, Malayalis and Sindhis are the other major communities.
  • Welfare and well-being of the Indian nationals, including of Indian workers feature prominently in consular responsibilities of the High Commission.
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