South Asia-Southeast Asia collaboration

DPM Heng in talks with PM Modi.

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat has discussed strengthening of India-Singapore cooperation in technology, defence and security, economic development, financial development and people-to-people exchange during his four-day visit to New Delhi.

Speaking to the media on 4 Oct 2019 following his four-day visit to India, he said “I think the advances in the fourth industrial revolution, and in particular in the digital revolution, have very significant impact on many different industry sectors and spheres of activity.”

The Singapore DPM met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Minister of Finance and Minister of Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman, and Minister of Railways and Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal as well as business community during the visit.

Heng underlined the importance to bring many partners together to look at how the two countries can collaborate, stressing the need to bring a partnership between governments, businesses and people, and to see how to ride on this new wave of change.

Heng and Modi also talked about collaborations between South Asia and Southeast Asia, highlighting many areas of complementarity between the two regions. It is a work in progress between the two regions to find new opportunities for collaboration in the face of growing global uncertainty about economic and political conditions.

They also discussed setting up task forces to look into the areas of interest, as well as to see how the two countries can “make progress in the coming months and years”.

Heng stressed to the Indian Ministers the importance of being in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) while acknowledging the Indian concern about the mega regional trade pact.

India see RCEP as a China-dominated freer trade pact as Indian exports are facing, and would continue to face, tariff challenges as well as price competition.

RCEP, talks on which were initiated in 2012, is expected to be concluded in the coming months bringing together China, Japan, India, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand as well as 10-member country ASEAN.

Singapore is encouraging India to be a part of RCEP for the benefit of free regional trade covering Asia Pacific.


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