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Singapore a bridge between India and ASEAN, defence relations with it among strongest: Modi

Addressing the Indian diaspora in Singapore, PM Narendra Modi said India often hosts Singaporean naval ships and the two nations speak in one voice at international forums.

india Updated: May 31, 2018 22:48 IST

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi being greeted by members of the Indian community on his arrival in Singapore on Thursday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi being greeted by members of the Indian community on his arrival in Singapore on Thursday.(PTI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that India and Singapore, which he termed a a bridge between India and South East Asia , are building “a partnership of our age.”  

Modi, who arrived in Singapore after meeting his Malaysian counterpart Mahathir Mohammad to personally congratulate him on his stunning election victory, also launched three Indian mobile payment apps in Singapore, aimed at the wider acceptance of India’s digital payment platform outside the country, and also facilitating easier remittances from Singapore to India.  

Modi arrived in Singapore on the last leg of his three-nation tour — he also visited Indonesia — and said that the defence relations between the two countries are among the strongest.

Also read: Modi in Singapore LIVE: Digital revolution sweeping India, we have put banking at the reach of poor, says PM

 “Political relations between India and Singapore are among the warmest and closest. There are no contests or claims, no irritants or doubts. It is a natural partnership from a shared vision,” Modi told the Indian diaspora at a Business and Community Event at Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre. 

 “When India opened up to the world and turned to the East, Singapore became a partner and a bridge between India and ASEAN (the grouping of 10 South East Asian countries). Modi said the two nations speak in one voice at international forums. 

“Two lions (India and Singapore) shall step into the future together,” he said. The Prime Minister said India’s economy has now become stable and economic reforms are taking place at a rapid scale. “In India, the present is changing rapidly. At a speed and a scale which was not known so far. A ‘New India’ is taking shape,” Modi said. 

“Our infrastructure sector is expanding at a record speed,” he added, citing the increase in the rail and road networks across the country. 

Later, at the “Business, Innovation and Community Event” where digital platforms were the main focus, Modi launched India’s BHIM, RuPay and the State Bank of India apps. 

India’s RuPay digital payments system was linked with Singapore’s 33-year-old Network for Electronic Transfers (NETS). RuPay users will be able to make payments at all of NETS acceptance points across Singapore. In turn, holders of Singapore NETS will be able to make online purchase on any National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) e-commerce merchant website in India, using 2.8 million RuPay point of sale terminals in India. 

Experts said this would create multi-billion dollar transactions as some five million Indians travel to and transit through Singapore, internationalising the RuPay beginning with cross border usage.

 “In order to expand our remittance offering, we are launching rupee remittance to India through United Payment Interface (UPI)," SBI country head in Singapore, Soma Sankara Prasad, said after the launch of his bank’s app.

The Singapore branch of India’s largest lender, SBI is the first to launch this new mode of remittance in collaboration with National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI). "This is a major step towards the internationalisation of India's digital payment platform," Prasad said. 

 It will be most convenient for Indian blue-collar workers here to use the app for sending money home from their dormitories at work sites, he added. 

Remittance of up to Rupees 100,000 will be made quick, easy and convenient with the help of Virtual Payment Address (VPA). This service will be available to all savings account holders of SBI Singapore. 

 The India-Singapore Enterprise and Innovation Exhibitions at the Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre showcased innovation in frontier technologies, including artificial intelligence, fin-tech and innovation for social impact. The exhibition was put up jointly by Indian and Singaporean companies. 

(With agency inputs)

First Published: May 31, 2018 19:06 IST