Singapore, India strengthen bilateral ties despite challenges posed by Covid-19 pandemic

SINGAPORE: India and Singapore further consolidated their strategic relationship in 2021 despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, with high-level bilateral visits and meetings leading to increased collaboration in the areas of defense, information and cybersecurity technologies that could shape the future of both countries.
Although the pandemic has crippled the global business environment, the city-state has been one of the largest sources of foreign investment in India in 2020-2021. India received $ 81.72 billion in foreign direct investment from Singapore in 2020-2021, up 10% from the previous fiscal year.
“Our bilateral trade with Singapore has recovered from the disruptions of the past year and is on track to reach new heights,” Acting Indian High Commissioner Siddhartha Nath told PTI, as one of the the most difficult years were drawing to a close.
India-Singapore relations are based on shared values ​​and approaches, economic opportunities and a convergence of interests on key issues. Political engagement is regular. Defense relations are particularly strong. Economic and technological links are extensive and growing. The cultural and human links are very alive.
Foreign Minister S Jaishankar’s visit in November 2021 provided an opportunity for high-level discussions with Singapore on the range of bilateral and other issues of mutual concern.
During his three-day visit, Jaishankar met Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and met with senior ministers, holding bilateral talks and discussing the global environment affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The successful conclusion of our discussions on the gradual restoration of bilateral air links, including the start of Vaccinated Travel Lane flights, has been a matter of satisfaction, given the importance of interpersonal relations between our two countries,” said Nath. .
As 2022 dawns, India and Singapore are collaborating in cutting-edge areas that will shape the future amid accelerating technological disruption – fintech, information technology, cybersecurity, skills development, solutions for cities smart and renewable energy, to name a few.
“The exciting startup environments in India and Singapore are also actively engaging with each other. There is also great potential for cooperation in a wide range of other areas, such as increasing the resilience of supply chains, logistics, skills development, infrastructure, waste and water management. and town planning.
“The strategic partnership between India and Singapore has shown its resilience and we look forward to further strengthening this important relationship over the coming year,” said Nath.
Singapore and India are also engaged in long-term defense cooperation and hosted the 28th edition of the Singapore-India Bilateral Maritime Exercise (SIMBEX) in September.
It is a bilateral and multilateral approach to work for a safer environment in the region.
In early September, India and Singapore waged a mega-game of naval warfare in the southern fringes of the South China Sea over the past three days, reflecting the growing congruence of their interests in the strategically key region.
The Indian Navy deployed its INS Ranvijay guided missile destroyer, INS Kiltan anti-submarine warfare corvette and INS Kora guided missile corvette and a P8I long-range maritime patrol aircraft for exercise “SIMBEX” in September 2-4, officials said.
The Singapore Navy was represented by a formidable RSS Steadfast-class frigate, a Victor Vigor-class guided missile corvette, an Archer-class submarine and a Fokker-50 maritime patrol aircraft, they said.
Four Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) F-16 fighters also participated in the exercise during the air defense exercises.
In addition, an extended exercise was organized with Thailand.
The Singapore-India-Thailand (SITMEX) 21 maritime exercise took place November 15-16 in the Andaman Sea.
The advocacy relationship has been broadened into strong support to ensure India receives essential medical equipment during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Singapore, as an important trade and logistics hub, has proven useful for the Indian High Commission to procure much-needed supplies of Covid-19-related medical equipment, including tanks and oxygen cylinders.
In October, on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Rome, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Prime Minister Lee and appreciated Singapore’s mobilization to provide Covid-19 assistance to India during the second wave.
Singapore’s support through agencies such as the Ministry of Trade and Industry and Enterprise Singapore provided their database and contacts to the Indian High Commission to procure all the necessary equipment in the region.
Companies linked to the Singapore government have also donated equipment to be used in India’s fight against the pandemic.
The Temasek public foundation, an active investor in India through its holding company, had sent 8,000 oxygen concentrators, 100 oxygen cylinders, 50,000 pulse oximeters, more than 100 BiPAPs and 200 ventilators to India.
DBS, which operates a wholly owned bank in India, donated three oxygen tanks and Sea Group donated 750 oxygen cylinders, while Singapore Exchange donated through the Red Cross to Singapore.
Some 255 oxygen cylinders were transported by two Republic of Singapore Air Force C-130 jets to West Bengal on April 28.
Indian companies in Singapore, such as IOCL, GAIL, ITC, TATA Group, Adani, Reliance, Transworld Group and Executive Ship Management have also provided relief supplies.
The Singapore Chamber of Commerce and Industry in India, the Little India Shopkeepers and Heritage Association, the Global Indian International School and several Indian community associations have also helped find and fund equipment for India to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Indian diaspora in Singapore has also stepped in to support India’s relief efforts against Covid-19. Pan IIM alumni have raised over SGD 5.4 million and the community of investor foundations, the Singapore chapter of Indus Entrepreneurs, has raised over SGD 3 million.
The Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defense promptly allowed Indian Navy ships and planes to travel to Singapore Changi Naval Base and Pay Lebar Air Base to transport the supplies they had. urgently needed.
In the coming year, the two countries look forward to further strengthening their strategic partnership, which has proven to be resilient.

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