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Ties with Singapore to boost Look East Policy: PM

By Kalyan Barooah

SINGAPORE, Nov 20 � Tracing the roots of UPA Government�s flagship foreign policy, Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh on Sunday recalled that opening of India relations with Singapore led to a strategic shift in the country�s foreign and economic policies which have today evolved into India�s �Look East� Policy.

Stating that Singapore opened new horizons for India, the Prime Minister, who arrived in the island nation straight from Bali after taking part in the ASEAN and East Asia Summit, said that Singapore�s rapid transformation and economic growth model is a beacon of hope in the uncertain world we live in today.

In Bali, Dr Singh had held discussions with US President, Barack Obama and Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao besides other ASEAN heads of States.

�It was the opening of our relations with Singapore, which led to a strategic shift in India�s foreign and economic policies and which today has evolved into our �Look East� Policy. Singapore opened new horizons for India.� Dr Singh said.

Under the �North Eastern Region Vision 2020� released by the Prime Minister in July 2008 India has undertaken several measures under the aegis of the Look East policy to project the North-east India as the cornerstone of the policy. The ambitious Asian Highway and the Kaladan Multi-modal Transit Transport projects have been aimed at establishing connectivity between the North Eastern Region and East Asia. Under the Ganga Mekong initiative direct connectivity is proposed to be introduced between Guwhati � Imphal with Ho-Chi Minh City and Hanoi.

Last year, the Prime Minister had said India�s Look East Policy is not merely an external economic policy, it is also a strategic shift in India�s vision of the world and India�s place in the evolving global economy. Most of all it is about reaching out to India�s civilisational neighbours in South East Asia and East Asia.

�The visit demonstrates the strong bilateral relations between Singapore and India, and reaffirms the warm links between the leaders from both countries,� Singapore�s Foreign Ministry said endorsing India�s views.

�You serve as an example not only for Asia but for the world at large. Your investments in human resources, education and infrastructure are examples worthy of emulation,� the Prime Minister, who is on a day-long bilateral visit, said at a lunch hosted by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong this afternoon.

�Our relations also encompass political, security and defence cooperation. We value our engagement with Singapore in these areas,� Singh said.

The Prime Minister is scheduled to hold delegation level talks with the Singapore Government. Singh and Goh Chok Tong would also officiate at the unveiling of the Jawaharlal Nehru Marker at the Asian Civilisations Museum of Singapore, underscoring the historical links between India and Singapore. Singh was accompanied by his wife Gursharan Kaur.

Recalling the signing of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement between India and Singapore in 2005 in New Delhi, Dr Singh said that it has led to a qualitative of India�s trade and investment relations with Singapore.

Singapore is India�s second largest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) investor with its investment pegged at USD 14 billion. During the last fiscal, India and Singapore had done Free Trade worth USD 17 billion.

Today, eleven Indian cities are directly connected by air with Singapore and the two countries have the highest number of international flights. There are 45 daily flights between India and Singapore.

The Prime Minister later call on President Tony Tan Keng Yam besides former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong.

Ahead of the Prime Minister�s visit, two vital MoUs were signed including a cultural exchange agreement and exchange of civil servants for training in urban development.

Meanwhile, Dr Singh has politely declined an offer to name two orchids after him and his wife. Singapore�s equivalent of a knighthood-like honour the National Orchid Garden of Singapore wanted to dedicate two varieties of orchids after the Prime Minister.

Indira Gandhi and cine star Amitabh Bachchan have been bestowed with similar honours in the past, while former Prime Minister, Atal behari Vajpayee declining a similar offer preferred to have an orchid named after his granddaughter.

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Ties with Singapore to boost Look East Policy: PM

SINGAPORE, Nov 20 � Tracing the roots of UPA Government�s flagship foreign policy, Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh on Sunday recalled that opening of India relations with Singapore led to a strategic shift in the country�s foreign and economic policies which have today evolved into India�s �Look East� Policy.

Stating that Singapore opened new horizons for India, the Prime Minister, who arrived in the island nation straight from Bali after taking part in the ASEAN and East Asia Summit, said that Singapore�s rapid transformation and economic growth model is a beacon of hope in the uncertain world we live in today.

In Bali, Dr Singh had held discussions with US President, Barack Obama and Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao besides other ASEAN heads of States.

�It was the opening of our relations with Singapore, which led to a strategic shift in India�s foreign and economic policies and which today has evolved into our �Look East� Policy. Singapore opened new horizons for India.� Dr Singh said.

Under the �North Eastern Region Vision 2020� released by the Prime Minister in July 2008 India has undertaken several measures under the aegis of the Look East policy to project the North-east India as the cornerstone of the policy. The ambitious Asian Highway and the Kaladan Multi-modal Transit Transport projects have been aimed at establishing connectivity between the North Eastern Region and East Asia. Under the Ganga Mekong initiative direct connectivity is proposed to be introduced between Guwhati � Imphal with Ho-Chi Minh City and Hanoi.

Last year, the Prime Minister had said India�s Look East Policy is not merely an external economic policy, it is also a strategic shift in India�s vision of the world and India�s place in the evolving global economy. Most of all it is about reaching out to India�s civilisational neighbours in South East Asia and East Asia.

�The visit demonstrates the strong bilateral relations between Singapore and India, and reaffirms the warm links between the leaders from both countries,� Singapore�s Foreign Ministry said endorsing India�s views.

�You serve as an example not only for Asia but for the world at large. Your investments in human resources, education and infrastructure are examples worthy of emulation,� the Prime Minister, who is on a day-long bilateral visit, said at a lunch hosted by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong this afternoon.

�Our relations also encompass political, security and defence cooperation. We value our engagement with Singapore in these areas,� Singh said.

The Prime Minister is scheduled to hold delegation level talks with the Singapore Government. Singh and Goh Chok Tong would also officiate at the unveiling of the Jawaharlal Nehru Marker at the Asian Civilisations Museum of Singapore, underscoring the historical links between India and Singapore. Singh was accompanied by his wife Gursharan Kaur.

Recalling the signing of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement between India and Singapore in 2005 in New Delhi, Dr Singh said that it has led to a qualitative of India�s trade and investment relations with Singapore.

Singapore is India�s second largest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) investor with its investment pegged at USD 14 billion. During the last fiscal, India and Singapore had done Free Trade worth USD 17 billion.

Today, eleven Indian cities are directly connected by air with Singapore and the two countries have the highest number of international flights. There are 45 daily flights between India and Singapore.

The Prime Minister later call on President Tony Tan Keng Yam besides former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong.

Ahead of the Prime Minister�s visit, two vital MoUs were signed including a cultural exchange agreement and exchange of civil servants for training in urban development.

Meanwhile, Dr Singh has politely declined an offer to name two orchids after him and his wife. Singapore�s equivalent of a knighthood-like honour the National Orchid Garden of Singapore wanted to dedicate two varieties of orchids after the Prime Minister.

Indira Gandhi and cine star Amitabh Bachchan have been bestowed with similar honours in the past, while former Prime Minister, Atal behari Vajpayee declining a similar offer preferred to have an orchid named after his granddaughter.