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Indian External Affairs Minister Discusses New Domains on Cooperation with Singapore’s Trade Minister

Indian External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar is visiting Singapore from October 19-21, 2023. In a high-level meeting between Dr. S. Jaishankar and Singapore’s Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong, held on October 20, the former discussed new avenues of bilateral cooperation with long-term implications. Dr. Jaishankar stated that he was looking forward to developing these ideas at the upcoming India-Singapore Ministerial Roundtable (ISMR). A day before, Dr. Jaishankar also met Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen and appreciated the latter’s strategic readings and assessments. Dr. Jaishankar also acted as chair for the regional conference of India’s ASEAN and East Asia Ambassadors. 

Enhancing Foundation of Strategic Trust

Dr. Jaishankar’s visit is a reaffirmation of the long-standing bilateral relationship between the two countries that is based on strategic trust. The deliberations assessed the developments in Singapore and also explored their positive implications in India. The meeting also facilitated collaborations on emerging areas like digitalisation and skills development in the upcoming ISMR. Both countries also got to deliberate on local and global issues of prime importance. 

India-Singapore Bilateral Relationship

India’s relationship with Singapore goes a long way. Both countries have deep connections when it comes to their cultural, commercial, and people-to-people links. There is a considerable population of Indians residing in Singapore. Both countries are involved in more than 20 bilateral mechanisms and are part of numerous forums like the  G20, East Asia Summit, Commonwealth, IORA (Indian Ocean Rim Association) and IONS (Indian Ocean Naval Symposium). An overview of the agreements signed between the two nations will reflect the gradual development of bilateral cooperation between them: the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (1994), the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (2005) and its Second Review (2018),  the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (1968, revised in 2013), the Defence Cooperation Agreement (2003), MoU on Foreign Office Consultations (1994), the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (2005), the Mutual Recognition Agreement on Nursing (2018), the Agreement for Conduct of Joint Army Training and Exercises (renewed in 2019), etc. The mechanism of ISMR inaugurated last year provided a platform for both countries to enhance their bilateral relations with long-term goals. Specifically, ISMR focused on emerging areas like  Green Economy, digital connectivity, Fintech, Skill Development, Green Hydrogen, and Food Security. 

Sectors of Current Cooperation:

Among the areas of cooperation under trade, economy and development are investment, connectivity, smart cities & urban rejuvenation, Skill development and State focus. Around 9000 Indian companies are registered in Singapore and the latter has around 440 in India. In the Defence sector, both countries have a long- standing relationship with mutual participation in events like staff level talks between the three wings of the Armed Forces, Annual Ministerial and Secretary level dialogues, training of the Singapore Army and Air force in India, etc. India and Singapore have also recently signed an MoU on Cooperation in the Fields of Science and Technology.


This was part of Dr. Jaishankar’s two-nation official visit which included Vietnam and Singapore. In his three-day visit, Dr. Jaishankar is also scheduled to meet Singapore President Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong, and Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean.

  1. India-Singapore_Bilateral_Relations_Brief_-_November_2022.pdf (mea.gov.in)