Singapore, Aug 9: Leaders from 18 countries, including India, have arrived in Singapore to participate today in a special ceremony organised to celebrate the prosperous city state's 50 years of independence.
Anant Gangaram Geete, Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprise, is representing India at the National Day jubilee celebration.
Geete is among leaders from the East Asia Summit countries and the UK joining other seven heads of the state who will attend the parade led by Singapore Armed Forces.
"Most of all let us celebrate how we journeyed from Third World to First, as one united people, leaving no one behind," said Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his message.
Recalling Singapore's achievements, Lee said there was ample reason to celebrate in the occasion.
"Every citizen has benefited from Singapore's progress. Life has improved for all for Chinese, Malays, Indians and Eurasians; for blue collar as well as white collar workers; for HDB (the public housing development board-built apartments) as well as condominium dwellers," Lee said.
"We are a nation of home owners. Everyone has opportunities to improve themselves. Everyone can look forward to a brighter future," he added.
Among the achievements Lee highlighted were how developing Singapore made its port and airport "the best in the world" without any domestic hinterland, and how the it developed its own water supply, NEWater, by turning itself into a catchment area, instead of being "utterly dependent" on Malaysia.
While Singapore looks back at how far the country has come, it must also look forward that while the journey ahead is uncharted, there is confidence in the future, Lee said.
Some of the dignitaries at the event include Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, China's Vice President Li Yuanchao and Japan's Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso and UK's Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Philip Hammond.
Singapore, an island state without resources, came out of the Malaysian Federation in 1965 and built its economy through industrial and infrastructure developments, becoming among others an Asian financial hub.
Singaporeans have been celebrating the the grand occasion since Friday.
The celebrations are being held across the city state by civic societies, community centres and resident committees.