India and Singapore today decided to scale up ties in key areas of investment and trade which has witnessed a huge surge from USD 4.2 billion to about USD 19.4 billion in the last one decade.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Singaporean counterpart K Shanmugam held extensive talks on entire gamut of bilateral relations and discussed ways to speed up air and maritime connectivity and coastal development.
During their talks spread over a working lunch hosted by Shanmugam, the two leaders agreed to work towards a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong at the earliest possible opportunity.
Singapore being the largest foreign investor last year, the visit by Swaraj, who arrived here last night, is aimed at further enhancing investment to India in various infrastructure projects including the new government's ambitious 100 smart cities venture.
The two leaders hoped that negotiations for the second review of Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement would be completed expeditiously to give further fillip to economic ties.
Apart from discussions on strengthening trade and connectivity ties, the two leader directed their officials to identify concrete projects in skills development, capacity building, rejuvenation of Indian cities and to enhance cultural ties.
Both the leaders also reaffirmed the commitment of their governments to further elevate bilateral relations and agreed to adopt a proactive and forward-looking approach towards building a closer and mutually beneficial partnership.
In the meeting, both the ministers expressed satisfaction over strengthening of cooperation between the two governments in key areas of defence and security, economic ties, culture and people-to-people contacts.
The trade ties between the two countries are on an upswing since signing of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) in June 2005. The CECA is considered the cornerstone of the intensified economic relations between the two countries.
"Both ministers expressed the hope that the negotiations for the Second Review of the CECA would be completed expeditiously, which would send a positive signal to the business community," said a joint statement issued after the meeting.
The annual bilateral trade had flourished in the last decade from USD4.2 billion in 2003-04 to around USD19.4 billion in 2013-14. Singapore became one of India's largest foreign investors in 2013, while Singapore is one of India's top investment destinations.
Swaraj and Shanmugam also reviewed the outcomes of the 47th ASEAN Ministerial meetings held in Myanmar's capital Nay Pyi Taw from August 5 to