New Delhi [India]: Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan on Thursday said that despite the COVID pandemic, trade between India and Singapore increased by 35 per cent in a year along with Foreign Direct Investment of 30 per cent into India.
Addressing the gathering at the Delhi Dialogue XII here, the Singapore minister noted the solid trade and investment ties between the two nations. Balakrishnan said, “Trade between India and Singapore, even during the pandemic year increased by 35 per cent and the FDI by 30 pc into India through Singapore.” The Singapore FM said that the relations between India and ASEAN did not just go back 30 years but thousands of years. “Over these thousand years, the cultural, linguistic, religious, commercial and the people to people ties have bound us together,” he said. “The Indian Classics, the Ramayan, the Mahabharat, have left deep imprints on our culture .. on our festivals in South East Asia,” he added.
Praising India’s immense capabilities in the Pharmacy sector and the exports of agricultural products, Balakrishnan said, “India is the pharmacy of the world, the breadbasket of the world and also the capital of digital services to the world.”
The Singapore FM said that in the post-colonial age, in the last 70 to 80 years, we have advanced the productive capability of our people and connected ourselves to global markets.
On the joint capabilities of India-ASEAN, Balakrishnan said that the population of India and ASEAN combined comprise 2 billion people, which is one-quarter of the world. He noted that the combined GDP of both is around 6 USD trillion US dollars.
However, he said, “it is not just the statistics snapshot but over the next two decades the potential to growth in GDP for both India and GDP .. it can double and quadruple in the next two decades. We will be the vibrant, essential pillar of the world.”
Balakrishnan said that in the emerging multipolar world India will be a major player. The Minister spoke at length about three key areas — International rules-based order, Trade and investment and New Technologies.
“if we are able to maintain a rules-based international order, not just the ones written and codified by the western world … but the one that recognizes the diversity and the wisdom of ASIA,” he added.
He also spoke on the importance of New technologies and the Digital revolution as a means of wealth generation. “India has a natural lead in this. If we can complement India’s ability and also then we can remake the next two decades.”
The ministerial session of DD-XII was attended by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and the ASEAN Ministers in New Delhi.