Kicking off an innovation exhibition, RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) and India-Singapore relations were some of the topics under the spotlight at the joint summit in the Lion City.
The High Commission of India, in partnership with agencies of the Governments of India and Singapore, chambers of commerce, professional associations and innovation labs, organised the two-day Business and Innovation Summit, ‘India-Singapore: The Next Phase’, on September 9-10, 2019 at Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Singapore.
The Summit, consisting of two inter-related conferences; a business event and the third edition of the India-Singapore Innovation and Start-up platform – InSpreneur, was attended by India’s Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar and Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, among others.
Addressing the inaugural session of 'Start-Up and Innovation Exhibition' here, Jaishankar said, "In political, strategic as well as economic and commercial areas, Singapore has become a fulcrum for India's policies. Today, what started as a bilateral relationship is something that has grown very much bigger. On rule-based issues, we think similarly."
During the Plenary session, the minister recalled that India and Singapore came together in a very contemporary phase, at a time when the world was changing, including India.
Jaishankar, who served as High Commissioner of India to Singapore from 2007 to 2009, has emphasised the close nature of the ties between India and Singapore throughout his visit. He added that Singapore was the first country with whom India had signed the comprehensive economic partnership agreement.
“Singapore has been very helpful to India strategically. It had a big role in creating our connect with ASEAN. For me, it is a very unique and valuable relationship and one which deserves full appreciation,” Jaishankar told Connected to India.
Jaishankar and Balakrishnan inaugurated the third edition of the Inspreneur innovation exhibition in which around 60 startups from India are participating.
“An impressive tour of the InSpreneur3.0 -Start-up and Innovation Exhibition with FM Vivian Bala. Great to see the passion in our new generation of entrepreneurs. Around 60 startups from India are here in the exhibition, some,like this one, from the Atal Tinker Labs set up by the government,” Jaishankar tweeted.
During his address at the summit, Balakrishnan said that Singapore can help India across multiple areas such as infrastructure planning, water conservation and business expansion and pointed out that Singapore was a natural partner for India in achieving its goal of becoming a USD 5 trillion economy by 2024.
“Our expertise in urban development, planning, and infrastructure finance will be salient to India,” he said.
He added that Singapore remains the ideal gateway for Indian firms as they expand into the region, noting that there are already more than 8,000 Indian companies in Singapore – the largest foreign contingent here.
“We can collaborate with your government agencies and your companies to pilot digital platforms that will facilitate ease of doing business. We have the diverse population and we have the support structures to help you develop, trial and adapt digital solutions both in ASEAN and in India,” he added.
Other topics and panel discussions at the event included one on ‘Digital partnership for ASEAN and beyond’ chaired by Piyush Gupta, Chief Executive Officer, DBS Group, Singapore and a session on ‘Skills development and Education’, with Dilip Chenoy, Secretary-General, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Atul Temurnikar, Co-Founder & Chairman, Global Indian International School (GIIS), Singapore, among the panelists.
Jaishankar and Balakrishnan also co-chaired the 6th Meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC) where the two sides reviewed a range of bilateral issues further deepening the strategic partnership between both countries. Jaishankar also called on Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and other senior ministers during his visit.