Speaking at an industry seminar, Indian-origin Singaporean minister K Shanmugam said New Delhi can explore many opportunities with the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and deepen trade engagements with the region further.
Noting the substantial progress achieved on the trade front between the two, the Home and Law Minister of the island city-state said there is tremendous goodwill towards India among the 10-nation bloc.
"India's interaction with the ASEAN has grown very substantially... I would say exponentially. But there is a gap between India's current role in economic and strategic terms compared with that of a number of East Asian countries. I see there are more opportunities that can be tapped into," Shanmugam told a Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) seminar on 'India's engagement with ASEAN'.
"But there are a number of areas where India can do better, and, if that is done, then I can see that the interaction would be much more fruitful," he said.
Following on from Indian Prime Minister’s efforts to foster closer ties with the region as part of the government’s Act East Policy, India has become the sixth-largest trading partner for the ASEAN and also the seventh-largest source of foreign investment for the region.
Shanmugam said India can leverage its comparative advantages in the tech sector and embrace digital opportunities in the fintech space.
Singapore and India have begun exploratory steps towards greater digital connectivity, with the formalisation of the Fintech joint working group between the department of economic affairs of India, and the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the city-state's central bank.