INDIA AND Singapore Tuesday agreed to step up cooperation in countering threats of rising terrorism, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi terming cross-border terrorism and increasing radicalisation as “grave challenges” endangering the very fabric of the two societies.
Modi, who held comprehensive talks with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on ways to enhance cooperation in key sectors, including trade and investment, said defence and security cooperation is a key pillar of strategic partnership between India and Singapore.
Addressing a joint press meet, Lee condemned terrorism and offered condolences to the families of the soldiers killed in the Uri attack. Emphasising that the “rising tide of terrorism, especially cross-border terrorism, and the rise of radicalisation are grave challenges to our security”, Modi said, “They threaten the very fabric of our societies.”
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He added, “It is my firm belief that those who believe in peace and humanity need to act together against this menace. Today, we have agreed to enhance our cooperation to counter these threats, including in the domain of cyber security.”
Modi also noted that as two maritime nations, keeping the sea lanes of communication open and respect for international legal order of seas and oceans was a shared priority. The two countries also inked three pacts, including the one dealing with intellectual property rights, to facilitate greater business-to-business exchanges and collaborations. Describing trade and investment as the bedrock of bilateral relationship, Modi said India has embarked on a path of strong economic growth and transformation, and it regards Singapore as a key partner in this journey.
Agreeing to expedite the second review of Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement, the two leaders also welcomed the issuance of corporate rupee bonds in Singapore which was a step forward in mobilising capital for India’s large infrastructure development needs.
“I have been informed that Singapore is leading the world in putting driverless cars on the road. But, I rest assured, we all rest assured, that one of India’s strongest well-wishers, Prime Minister Lee, is in the driving
seat for Singapore and for our bilateral relationship. Excellency Lee, you are a friend of India,” Modi said.
Lee said they also discussed furthering Singapore and India’s strong economic ties, for instance, by setting up a finance dialogue between the finance ministries of both the countries. On the Singapore side, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam will be appointed for the task and India will appoint Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to find “win-win outcomes” for both countries, he added.
The Singapore PM also said, “Singapore remains a firm believer in India and we will continue to contribute, where we can, to India’s remarkable development story.”
Referring to the inking of two MoUs, Modi said a skill development centre for the Northeastern states in Guwahati would be set up under it. He also welcomed the inauguration of the Centre of Excellence for Tourism Training in Udaipur in cooperation with the Rajasthan government.