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Shanmugam begins 5-day India visit

Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam met his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi on Tuesday morning. 

NEW DELHI: Singapore has come forward to help India in advanced skills training for India's youth, said Singapore's Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam, on the first day of his five-day official visit to India on Tuesday (July 1).

India is the youngest nation in the world with more than 60 per cent of its population at less than 35 years. So, Singapore can do more to this young population to skill-up, said Mr Shanmugam. He said Singapore will also help India in the tourism and hospitality sectors with its vast experience in these areas.

The Foreign Affairs Minister met his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi on Tuesday morning. They reaffirmed the excellent bilateral relations between the two nations.

"We have a very substantial relationship but we can do much more. And within that context, I suggested that we can consider the idea of a strategic partnership, which can encompass India's priorities and India's thinking in terms of building smart cities," said Mr Shanmugam.

"India needs to develop the skill sets of its people, and these are areas in which we can work with India. So I've suggested these, and I've said that in principle, if India is agreeable, we can ask our officials to think about this and see what is doable," he continued.

Mr Syed Akbaruddin, spokesman for the Indian External Affairs Ministry said of the meeting: "Yesterday, India had launched its Singapore satellite TELOS1 and this reflects the close cooperation between India and Singapore. The focus of the discussions were largely economic. Perhaps many of you are aware that Singapore is the source of the largest FDI flow into India last year. It is also the destination of the largest flows of foreign investment from India abroad last year.

"So in terms of our economic relationship, it is a very robust relationship. In terms of our trade ties, Singapore and India have the largest trading relationship between India and any ASEAN country. "

Mrs Swaraj also hosted a lunch for Mr Shanmugam. Later, Mr Shanmugam met India's National Security Adviser Ajit Doval in the Prime Minister's office. He is scheduled to meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday morning.

Next year is the 50th year of Singapore's independence and also the 50th year since the start of India-Singapore diplomatic relations. Mr Shanmugam says several activities are planned to celebrate this, and leaders from both sides plan to visit each other's country in the near future.


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