"Singapore is the easiest place to do business, when we (India) are talking about ease of doing business. Registration of companies in Singapore is a hassle free process. It can become a reference model for India, if the country wants to move up on rankings of ease of doing business from No. 102 to 2. Singapore is secure for women and children, even after having borders with other big nations," Tarun Das, Founding Trustee, Ananta Aspen Centre & Former Chief Mentor, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) said.
In 2015, India and Singapore completed 50 years of bilateral relationship. Both countries have built strong and deep engagements in the field of politics, economics, commerce, security, defence, space & technology and education and culture.
Celebrating the spirit of 5 long decades of corporation, the Ananta Aspen Centre organised a book discussion on India & Singapore in the New Millennium in New Delhi on June 23, 2016.
Ananta Aspen Centre in collaboration with the Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS) at the National University of Singapore, published the volume Looking Ahead: India- Singapore in the New Millennium – Celebrating 50 Years of Diplomatic Relations. The volume was supported by Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), India. It has 18 contributors form India and 9 from Singapore. For discussion, the centre invited an esteemed panel of speakers who contributed in the book to shed light on the various areas of cooperation that will strengthen partnership between India and Singapore and to share some new perspectives on enhancing the mutually beneficial relationship between two countries.
The discussion was moderated by A K Bhattacharya, Editor, Business Standard. He began the forum by giving an overview about the book, summarising the volume in 10 broad sections and inviting the panellist to share their views and experiences. He informed that the book comprises of 19 essays by scholars and personalities, who have participated in the making of India and Singapore relations.
“The 10 key takeaways involve concerns such as durability of relations, opening up of Indian economy in 1990 for foreign investors, emphasis on more industry level cooperation, creation of India-Singapore joint task force on entrepreneurship and others. The contents of the book reflect how wide the relationship is between India and Singapore,” he said.
Inviting Tarun Das, Founding Trustee, Ananta Aspen Centre & Former Chief Mentor, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) praised the work, ethics and discipline of Singaporeans and important role played by Singapore in bridging the relationship between India and ASEAN.
“Singapore is the easiest place to do business, when we (India) are talking about ease of doing business. Registration of companies in Singapore is a hassle free process. It can become a reference model for India, if the country wants to move up on rankings of ease of doing business from No. 102 to 2. Singapore is secure for women and children, even after having borders with other big nations,” he said.
Emphasising on the idea of strategic partnership between the two countries, Dr C Raja Mohan said, “Singapore is the very heart of Indo-Pacific, essentially linking two oceans. Singapore naturally becomes an eastern anchor for Look East Policy. The re-establishment of Nalanda University has helped in extending India’s ties with other countries in South Asia.”
Shyam Saran, Chairman, Research & Information System for Developing Countries, raised two important aspects of bilateral relationship. First, Singapore has become a platform of choice for India to invest. Second is the changing nature of geopolitical dimension wherein India could play a significant role in maintaining the balance of power equation in the backdrop of the South China Sea dispute. The former diplomat also added that Singapore is literally building an underground Singapore which in future may become a logistic centre for the region and the world. It will be the next big thing in a rapidly transforming world with the ability to stay ahead of others.
The next 50 years should be dedicated to determine the areas of strength, identify the opportunities and use that knowledge to take this relationship to the next level. The mutual benefits of the strong relationship between India and Singapore can drive the policymakers in governments of both countries to get down to the task of redrawing a new framework of stronger ties.
The writer is a member of the Diplomatist Editorial Board