Enormous investment opportunities for Singapore in India: envoy

Singapore, Nov 8 (PTI): India offers enormous investment opportunities for Singapore as it is making strides to become a USD 5 trillion economy by 2024, Indian envoy Jawed Ashraf said on Friday.
Calling for further strengthening the two countries’ strategic partnership with a bigger footprint in the Indo-Pacific Region, particularly in South East Asia and East Asia regions, he said that Singapore could be a springboard for the Indian micro, small and medium enterprises to enter the region.
“There would be enormous opportunities in every area of Singapore’s interests in Indian prosperity,” India’s High Commissioner Ashraf said at the Asian Business Leaders Conclave, 2019 here.
As the two countries take a leap into the digital age, they can work together to advance digital governance, financial inclusion, digitalisation of payments and more that can contribute empowering people and lifting them into a better life, he said.
The High Commissioner cited the pioneering initiative of the international launch of RuPay card in Singapore by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year and the forthcoming international launch of BHIM QR at the Singapore Fintech Festival next week.
“We must serve a larger purpose and it must be that we build a peaceful, prosperous and stable Indo-Pacific region that is neither dominated by one country or driven apart by conflicts and competition or from emerging great power rivalry,” Ashraf said.
As India and Singapore share a strong belief in multilateralism, rules-based order, in respect for and adherence to international law, in unwavering commitment to maritime security and freedom of navigation, “ours is a partnership that can contribute to advancing the shared vision for the Indo Pacific Region”, he said.
It is a political relationship between India and Singapore that is free from contests and claims, doubts and hesitations and the bilateral defence partnership is among the strongest and deepest for both the countries, the envoy said.
“We are two countries that do not have to argue over principles or re-assure each other of our intentions. Our only challenge is to avoid complacency and our only obligation is to keep setting higher ambitions for ourselves,” Ashraf said.
As the world enters into multiple transitions and daily disruptions, the future will demand more form India and Singapore, he said, adding that the two countries would be able to do more for the region when they are ready to do more with each other.
“That is the defining agenda for India and Singapore going ahead,” Ashraf said.
The High Commissioner gave reasons for India to stay out of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
“We felt that our core concerns and issues were not adequately and satisfactorily addressed… in its present form and at this stage, RCEP would not have served our economic interests as we see it now.
“It would have had adverse effect on certain sectors of our economy, including in industry, SME and agriculture sector, and would have affected the lives and livelihood of vulnerable sections of the society,” the envoy pointed out.
“RCEP is, however, neither an indicator of India’s openness, reforms and commitment to rules-based international trade, nor does it in anyway dilute our commitment to deepen our economic, political and strategic engagement with ASEAN partners and, indeed, in the broader Indo-Pacific Region, which will continue to grow,” Ashraf said.
He said that the Andhra Pradesh government, which had partnered with Singapore for developing the commercial core of the upcoming capital city of Amaravati, values its partnership with Singapore and would welcome its participation in all aspects of economic development, from skills to infrastructure, the envoy added.