Singapore's Foreign Minister arrives in New Delhi, chairs JMC with Sushma Swaraj

Ahead of ASEAN-Parvasi Bhartiya Summit in January, Singapore's Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan arrived in New Delhi for a two-day visit starting today.

Singapore's Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan being welcomed by Indian External Affairs Minister(EAM) Sushma Swaraj at New Delhi.
Singapore's Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan being welcomed by Indian External Affairs Minister(EAM) Sushma Swaraj at New Delhi. Photo courtesy: MEA

Balakrishnan was welcomed by Indian External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj. Along with their delegations, both leaders attended 5th Joint Ministerial Committee Meeting.

"Strengthening our warm bonds of friendship. EAM Sushma Swaraj welcomes Foreign Minister Vivian Balakirishnan of Singapore to India...  Expanding our strategic partnership," Raveesh Kumar, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesman tweeted on his official twitter account.

Singapore Foreign Minister is slated to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi later in the evening and he will fly to Guwahati in North East state of Assam tomorrow after addressing Singapore Symposium 2017 in Delhi in the evening.

Dr Balakrishnan will speak on the topic "India, Singapore and ASEAN: Shared History, Common Future." He will dwell on the current state of Singapore-India relations, India’s importance and role in the region, and the ways that Singapore can continue to catalyse greater Indian engagement with ASEAN.

India and ASEAN are marking the 25th anniversary of their relations this year and, together with ASEAN, are looking to cooperate in new digital spaces and continue to promote connectivity, free trade and an inclusive regional architecture, in order to build a common future of stability, growth and prosperity. 

Delegations led by Singapore's Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan and Indian External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj attend 5th Joint Ministerial Committee Meeting organised at New Delhi.
Delegations led by Singapore's Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan and Indian External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj attend 5th Joint Ministerial Committee Meeting organised at New Delhi. Photo courtesy: MEA

The event is being organised by Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS), at National University of Singapore (NUS) and in partnership with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). The interactive session with the minister will be convened by Ambassador Gopinath Pillai, Chairman, ISAS-NUS, and Ambassador-at-Large, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore.

"As we mark the 25th anniversary of ASEAN-India relations at a time when the world is undergoing a technological revolution, India and Singapore, together with ASEAN, should look to cooperate in the new digital spaces and continue to promote connectivity, free trade and an inclusive regional architecture, in order to build a common future of stability, growth and prosperity," according to an ISAS communique here.

Though, details of minister's programme at Guwahati were not immediately available, as per Indian Government's earlier statement Singapore has proposed to set up a Skill Centre to economically empower the local people of Assam.

Singapore's Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan being welcomed on his arrival at New Delhi. Photo courtesy: MEA
Singapore's Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan being welcomed on his arrival at New Delhi. Photo courtesy: MEA

The High Commissioner of Singapore Lim Thuan Kuan had in September led a high-level delegation to meet with Indian Minister for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) Dr Jitendra Singh and expressed a keenness of invest and collaborate on government projects in the region.

An MoU for the Skill Centre has already been formalised between Singapore and the State Government of Assam. As a follow-up, a Skill Centre is proposed to be set up at Guwahati by the year 2019 and the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region(DoNER) will coordinate in this initiative.

The Singapore delegation also expressed its preference to engage with India in the area of Space Technology for collaboration in "peaceful uses of outer space."

Author
Pradeep Rana
Pradeep Rana – Senior Correspondent

Pradeep Rana has worked as a journalist with news ​agencies UNI and PTI, newspapers Indian Express and The Times Of India, and television channel NHK as South Asia Correspondent. He has also worked as Media Analyst at US Embassy, and edited several magazines and a medical handbook.

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