Thursday, July 12, 2012

PM's statement to the Media on the State Visit of the Prime Minister of Singapore
Following is the text of Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh’s statement to the Media on the State Visit of the Prime Minister of Singapore in New Delhi today:

“It is indeed an honour to welcome Prime Minister Lee to India on a State visit. He had last visited India in 2005, when we had signed the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement, which was the first agreement of its kind that India had signed with any country.

Singapore is a close friend and valued regional partner for India. Our relations are broad-based and multi-faceted. They are underpinned by a confluence of interests spanning political, economic, cultural, defence and security issues. Apart from regular high-level exchanges of visits and an architecture of productive dialogue mechanisms, our friendship is nourished by a vibrant people-to-people relationship.

Prime Minister Lee and I had very fruitful discussions today on all issues of India-Singapore bilateral relations. We both agreed that while we have made good all-round progress in many areas of our relations, we can and should do much more together.

Singapore is not only our foremost trading partner in ASEAN, but also a major source of FDI inflows into India. I welcomed additional Singapore investment into India, particularly in the infrastructure sector, where Singapore has great expertise. We agreed to expedite the conclusion of the ongoing second Review of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement that would further facilitate trade in goods and services and investment.

In this context, I assured Prime Minister Lee of India’s commitment to reinforce its status as an investment-friendly country and expressed my hope that Singapore companies would look at India as a valued investment destination in the current scenario.

We discussed cooperation in functional areas, including education and skills development. Singapore is a world leader and has developed excellent institutions in this area. The Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Vocational Education and Skills Development which we signed today would provide the framework for cooperation in this field. A specific cooperative project on skills training in Delhi is also getting underway.

Prime Minister Lee and I have decided to step up bilateral cooperation and exchanges in the fields of defence and security. To this end, we have just signed a Memorandum of Understanding to renew the bilateral arrangement between our Air Forces on joint training and exercises.

Singapore and India share values of democracy, pluralism and secularism and this gives both our countries convergent perspectives on many regional and international developments. We also work closely together in a number of regional mechanisms, such as the East Asia Summit, ASEAN and the ASEAN Regional Forum. We share similar views on building an open and inclusive architecture of regional cooperation in Asia, which enhances trust and confidence. We discussed the global economic situation and agreed on the need for more concerted international action.

Prime Minister Lee`s visit is a milestone in our relations. Later this year, India will host the India-ASEAN Commemorative Summit to celebrate the 20th anniversary of our Dialogue Partnership with ASEAN. I am delighted that Prime Minister Lee has agreed to visit us again on that occasion. I thank you for your attention.” 

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