Home Asia Growing Gamut of India-Singapore Relations: Enduring Bilateral Ties Reach New Heights

Growing Gamut of India-Singapore Relations: Enduring Bilateral Ties Reach New Heights

India and Singapore’s strategic efforts have propelled their bilateral relations to unprecedented heights, marked by a significant upswing in trade and investment. The resource-rich India and resource-dependent Singapore have found mutual benefits in their growing economic ties, further solidifying a relationship rooted in shared values and economic synergy. The recent leadership transition in Singapore, with Lawrence Wong assuming office as the fourth Prime Minister, has not altered the vibrancy of the India-Singapore relationship. Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended his congratulations to Wong, expressing optimism for continued collaboration to advance the Strategic Partnership between the two nations. This partnership, underpinned by economic, technological, cultural, and people-to-people connections, continues to thrive.

Trade between India and Singapore has seen a remarkable increase. In 2023, India was Singapore’s 12th largest trading partner and export destination. Singapore’s investment in India amounted to USD 17.2 billion in FY2022, with cumulative investments constituting about 23% of India’s FDI equity inflows since 2000. Singapore’s cumulative investments in ASEAN stand at USD 130 billion and in China at USD 160 billion, while India has seen cumulative investments reaching approximately USD 190 billion from Singapore’s perspective. This underscores Singapore’s view of India as a crucial geopolitical and economic player. Defence cooperation remains robust, with recent interactions including the presence of Indian warships in Singapore and the 15th India-Singapore Defence Policy Dialogue. This dialogue reinforced commitments to enhance service-to-service interactions, bilateral exercises, and cooperation in emerging areas like cyber security. Both nations reaffirmed their commitment to fully implement the ‘Strategic Partnership’ based on mutual trust, shared interests, and common values of democracy and the rule of law.

High-level visits and exchanges have further cemented the relationship. Prime Minister Modi’s official visit to Singapore in 2018, where he delivered the keynote address at the Shangri La Dialogue and the Singapore Fintech Festival, set a new direction for the partnership. Former Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s participation in India’s Republic Day Celebrations and the 2018 ASEAN India Commemorative Summit highlighted the mutual respect and strategic alignment between the countries. A landmark development in the economic linkage was the launch of the UPI-PayNow connection, facilitating faster and cheaper remittances. This initiative, inaugurated by RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das and Monetary Authority of Singapore’s Managing Director Ravi Menon, enables seamless cross-border retail payments and remittances directly between bank accounts or e-wallets, leveraging mobile phone numbers, UPI identities, or Virtual Payment Addresses.

As the two nations approach the 60th anniversary of their diplomatic relationship in 2025, several Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs) are poised for advancement, promising to elevate bilateral ties further. The enduring and dynamic partnership between India and Singapore stands as a testament to their strategic foresight, robust economic linkages, and shared aspirations for a prosperous future.