Bilateral Relations between India and Singapore
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TOPIC: General Studies 2:
- India and the World
- Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
- Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
The close ties between India and Singapore have a history rooted in strong commercial, cultural and people-to-people links, with Singapore being a part of the “Greater India” cultural and commercial region. More than 300,000 people of Indian origin live in Singapore.
Historical connection: India’s connection with Singapore dates back to the Cholas.
Modern historical connection: The more modern relationship is attributed to Sir Stamford Raffles who, in 1819, established a trading station in Singapore on the route of the Straits of Malacca which became a colony under British India, governed from Calcutta (1830-1867). The colonial connection is reflected in a similarity of institutions and practices, usage of English and the presence of a large Indian community.
Present Connection: India-Singapore relations are based on shared values and approaches, economic opportunities and convergence of interests on key issues.
India was one of the first countries to recognize Singapore in 1965.
Singapore was one of the first to respond to India’s “Look East” Policy of expanding its economic, cultural and strategic ties in Southeast Asia to strengthen its standing as a regional power. India’s economic reforms in 1990s and the Look East Policy provided opportunities to recreate a new framework for cooperation, which included the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) of 2005.
India and Singapore have signed the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) and strategic-relationship agreement in order to increase trade, investments and economic cooperation, and expanded bilateral cooperation on maritime security, training forces, and joint naval exercises, developing military technology and fighting terrorism.
This robust relationship was elevated to a Strategic Partnership during the visit of Prime Minister Modi in November 2015 who signed a Joint Declaration on a Strategic Partnership with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.
Singapore is India’s second largest trading partner among the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asia Nations
The 5-S Plank – Five areas of cooperation to enhance bilateral relations – 5S Plank directs the relationship towards –
- Scale up: Trade & Investment
- Speed up: Connectivity
- Smart Cities and Urban Rejuvenation
- Skill development
- State focus
The ties between Singapore and India are getting closer, particularly when it comes to strategic cooperation. The two states inked
- A bilateral agreement on air force training cooperation in 2007 (and renewed the agreement in both 2012 and 2017),
- An army bilateral agreement in 2008, and
- Have held a regular bilateral maritime exercise since 1994.
- In 2017, India and Singapore exchanged documents on bilateral naval cooperation and agreed to increase cooperation in maritime security, increase visits to each other’s ports, and facilitate mutual logistics support. With this robust security cooperation, the city state secured an all-around security ally that could help to train Singapore’s military force and guarantee the stability of the Malacca Strait.
- India has formalised a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) in nursing with Singapore which would allow nurses trained in seven nursing institutions across India to gain employment in the South-East Asian country.
- India and Singapore concluded the second review of India-Singapore Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA). India and Singapore agreed to expand the coverage of tariff concessions, liberalise the rules of origin and incorporate new product specific rules (PSRs) to further enhance trade between the two countries.
- Both countries agreed to deepen their economic and defense ties as they signed eight agreements including one on logistics cooperation between their navies.
In addition, economic interactions between Singapore and India are durable, based on the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) signed in 2005 and the amendment of the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement, signed in December 2016. Almost 8,000 Indian companies have registered in the city-state so far, making India the largest foreign corporate contingent in Singapore.