New Delhi, Feb 9: Singapore and India on Monday discussed development issues, especially the Narendra Modi government's initiatives of Smart Cities, skill development, connectivity and also boosting linkages with northeast India as visiting Singapore President Tony Tan Keng Yam held talks with Prime Minister Modi here.
Tan, accompanied by his wife Mary Tan, is on a four-day state visit to India from Feb 8 on the invitation of President Pranab Mukherjee. The Singapore president's maiden visit to India is also part of celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
President Tan met Prime Minister Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during which they held wide-ranging discussions on boosting bilateral ties and strengthening cooperation on regional and international issues to raise the partnership to a higher level.
The talks covered new focus areas which are part of India's development process, which include the Smart Cities and urban rejuvenation initiatives, promoting skill development, measures to speed up connectivity and coastal and port development, strengthening linkages with the northeast India, projects to scale up investments in the new development initiatives launched in India and enhancing exchanges with India, said a ministry of external affairs statement.
Both sides agreed on sharing of experiences in science and technology, space and other areas to enhance productivity and efficiency as well as broadening cooperation in fighting terrorism.
The discussions reflected the spirit of mutual trust, understanding and cooperation that characterise the unique and special relations between the two countries, the statement said.
Tan is to inaugurate the Singapore Festival in India Tuesday, launch a commemorative book titled "Singapore and India: Towards A Shared Future", open the Peranakan Exhibition at the National Museum and host a food festival themed "Flavours Of Singapore".
The year-long Festival of India in Singapore is currently underway since August 2014, to showcase India's culture, innovation, youth and states.The presidential visit reinforces "our traditional close exchanges and further enhanced the excellent bilateral relations between our two countries", the statement said.
In the morning, President Tan was accorded a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan after which he proceeded to Raj Ghat to lay a wreath at the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi.
"India-Singapore relationship, based on convergence of views and values and Singapore's role as our gateway to Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), is robust and expanding. It encompasses strong political understanding, close defence and security cooperation, growing complementarities in economic engagement, civilisational and cultural linkages and shared interests in bilateral and multilateral fora," the statement said.
His delegation included Second Minister for Foreign Affairs Grace Fu and Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong.