His Excellency Mr. Lee Hsien Loong, the Prime Minister of Republic of Singapore called on President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan today (October 5, 2016).
Welcoming Mr. Loong to India, the President conveyed his condolences on the passing away of Founding Father of Singapore Mr. Lee Kuan Yew and former President S.R. Nathan. He said we, in India, admire Mr. Lee Kuan Yew’s vision and ideas. His passing was deeply mourned in India.
The President said he was happy to note that Singapore is collaborating with the Government of Assam in developing a skill centre in Assam. The North Eastern part of India is a natural partner of South East Asian nations.
The President expressed happiness that bilateral trade has expanded after the conclusion of CECA. It peaked to US$ 25.2 billion in 2011-12. It has however declined to US$ 15 billion in 2015-16. The President said the two countries need to work together to give trade and investments a boost. Investor confidence in India is at an all time high. It is among the most attractive destinations for investment. Singapore companies have experience in India and are familiar with our investment landscape. We hope to see more Singapore companies investing in India.
The President said both Singapore and India are concerned at growing extremism and terrorism which are a common threat to the whole international community. India has been a victim of cross border terrorist attacks perpetrated by groups which enjoy safe havens in Pakistan. The latest terrorist attack in Uri only underlined the fact that the infrastructure of terrorism in Pakistan remains active. There have been continuous attempts by armed terrorists to cross the LoC and international boundary in order to carry out attacks in India. The President said as strategic partners, the broadest possible range of cooperation on security and terrorism would be to the mutual benefit of India and Singapore. Both countries must focus on enhancing co-operation on combating terrorism and isolating its supporters.
The Prime Minister of Singapore strongly condemned the Uri terrorist attack and conveyed condolences on the demise of many soldiers. He said Singapore also remains on constant vigil against terrorism. It wishes for peace in South Asia and would like to do lots more with India.