Prime Minister Narendra Modi tomorrow landed in Singapore where he began his trip by engaging the two most important factions in these bilateral ties; the business community and the Indian diaspora.

This was his Seventeen announcements in one evening which included agreements as well as the first international launch of the Unified Payment Interface (UPI). As the prime minister was busy in a meet with the newly elected Malaysian counterpart Mahathir Mohammad.

PM Modi launched three digital payment schemes, including the international debut of Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) and RuPay in Singapore as well as the State Bank of India’s online international Rupee remittance app. The launch marks the collaboration of National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and Network for Electronic Transfers (NETS) of Singapore in launching a cross-border digital payment system between the two nations.

“RuPay, BHIM and UPI; it is natural for these to be launched in Singapore. Together, we can build a great economic partnership of the new age,” Modi said. Addressing a strong gathering of 5,000 people at the Marina Bay Sands convention centre, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted the close cultural, political and economic ties between India and Singapore and applauded the Indian diaspora, for its achievements.

“We have the world’s most talented, dynamic, professional and committed Indian diaspora. Proud to be Singaporean and proud of their Indian heritage, ready to be the bridge between India and Singapore,” emphasised the Indian Prime Minister. India’s increasing economic might have made it a global player in the region and a major stakeholder in Southeast Asia. India is engaging SE Asia in the areas of business synergies and to that effect, Singapore is providing 50,000 sq feet of space for Indian Start-ups as part of the ‘Innovation Hub’.

There are expectations of an early conclusion of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Both countries are also expected to seal the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) which has been under review for the past six years. The reviewed CECA could see more Indian banks and professionals getting opportunities in Singapore while more and more businesses from here venturing into the Indian market.

Speaking about the strong economic ties between the two countries the PM said, “For Singapore, there is no better opportunity than India. Few countries have so much in common and so much potential. We mirror each other in our societies and we wish the same for our region.”PM credited Singapore for being the bridge between ASEAN and India, he emphasised that the engagement towards the East will remain among the strongest and economics will remain an integral part of India’s Act East Policy.

S Iswaran, Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry, announced that Indians would be able to use their RuPay cards to make payments using NETS terminals in Singapore. “Against this backdrop of closer economic partnership and new areas of synergy, the prospects for our future collaboration are bright,” he said.

This is a step towards a better Globalized world and has opened opportunities for our country.


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