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"Constructive" meeting between Shanmugam and PM Modi

Following his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said Singapore and India could consider mutual partnerships in the areas of urban planning and the development of smart cities.

NEW DELHI: Possible areas that Singapore and India are considering for mutual partnership include urban planning, low-cost housing, development of smart cities and clean-up of rivers.

Foreign Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam revealed this after his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Wednesday (July 2), which he described as "constructive".

"It was a very good meeting. We discussed the excellent state of the current relationship between India and Singapore and how we can take it further," said Mr Shanmugam. "In that sense, there were a number of specific ideas that we discussed. The Prime Minister suggested a number of ideas.

"He said that our experience in port management, our experience in low-cost housing, urban planning, urban solutions, our experience in skills training and upgrading - these are all areas that Singapore and India can cooperate on further. And he also pointed that for next year's 50th-year anniversary celebrations, there will be major events in India and Singapore and we discussed high-level visits that are due to take place this year and next year," Mr Shanmugam continued.

"So all in all, we discussed the political strategic relationship, the economic relationship and what more we can do together in the economic sphere. And I also suggested that these ideas can be thought through further by high-level officials, in time for the Prime Ministers of the two countries to discuss when they might meet later this year at the multilateral events. And it can be considered to be part and parcel of strategic partnership. And in principle, the Prime Minister is open to the idea and said that we can look at all of these things."

The Foreign Minister said the feasibility of the partnership will be discussed by officials from both sides. As for the Smart Cities project, there are some model cities in China which can be emulated.

Both leaders also discussed water treatment solutions. Singapore's Hyflux is already engaged in a multi-million-dollar water project in India's Gujarat and Singapore has offered to share its experience in that field.

"The topic of cooperation of river cleaning also came up. And I said to the Prime Minister that in response to the question that he asked, that we will be happy to share our experiences, because the size and scale are different. But we will be happy to share. Minister for Environment Dr Vivian Balakrishnan already talked to our people who had already been involved. And that is something we can share," Mr Shanmugam said. 

The Minister has also been meeting several leaders as he continues his five-day visit to India. On Tuesday night, he met with senior Congress leader and former Indian Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath. And earlier on Wednesday, he met Human Resources Development Minister Smriti Irani, and Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman.

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