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India, Singapore discuss ties at Joint Ministerial Committee meet

Author: IANS/Wednesday, November 1, 2017/Categories: Government

India, Singapore discuss ties at Joint Ministerial Committee meet

New Delhi - Strategic partners India and Singapore reviewed bilateral ties at the fifth Joint Ministerial Committee meeting here between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Singapore counterpart Vivian Balakrishnan.

The two leaders discussed a wide range of bilateral issues of shared interests and mutual concerns, the External Affairs Ministry (EAM) said in a statement. 

There are five areas of cooperation to enhance bilateral relations: scale up trade and investment; speed up connectivity; smart cities and urban rejuvenation; skill development; and state focus.

"In particular, they reviewed the upcoming high level exchanges, commemoration of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of ASEAN and 25 years of India-ASEAN dialogue partnership, cooperation in political, defence and security fields, trade and investment, cooperation in tourism and culture, connectivity, and other aspects of partnership," the statement said.

They also exchanged views on issues of mutual interest at regional and multilateral levels, including cooperation at UN and International organisations.

The India-Singapore bilateral relationship was elevated to a strategic partnership during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the city state in November 2015.

Balakrishnan, who is on a two-day visit to India starting Tuesday, will visit Guwahati on Wednesday to meet Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and witness signing of an MoU to launch a skill development centre being set up in Assam with Singapore's assistance. 

Earlier, referring to the meeting, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had tweeted: "Expanding our strategic partnership." 

Singapore was India's 10th largest bilateral trade partner in 2016-17 and the second largest among the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) countries, with a share of 2.5% and 2.6% respectively of overall trade with India. 

Bilateral trade expanded after the conclusion of Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) from $6.7 billion in 2004-05 to reach $16.7 billion in 2016- 17. 

In 2016-17, India's imports from Singapore totalled $7.1 billion and exports totalled $9.6 billion, a growth of 24% compared to the previous year.

Singapore has agreed to set up a skill development centre in the northeastern state.

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