India, Singapore relations 'warmest and closest': PM

Singapore: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday hailed the "warmest and closest" relationship between India and Singapore, saying the future is a world of unlimited opportunities and the two lions (countries) shall step into it together.
Modi, who arrived in Singapore on the last leg of his three-nation tour earlier on Thursday, said the defence relations between the two countries are among the strongest and the two sides are building a "partnership of our age."
"When India opened up to the world and turned to the East, Singapore became a partner and a bridge between India and ASEAN. Political relations between India and Singapore are among the warmest and closest. There are no contests or claims, or doubts," Modi told the Indian diaspora at a Business and Community Event at Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre here.
"It is a natural partnership from a shared vision. Our defence relations are among the strongest, for both. My Armed Forces speak with great respect and admiration for Singapore's Armed Forces. India's longest continuous naval exercise is with Singapore," he said, highlighting the deep defence ties.
He said that in international forums, the two countries speak in one voice in the cause of a rules-based order, sovereign equality of all nations, and free and open pathways of commerce and engagement.
"It is a partnership at the front-line of India's global engagement. Singapore is both a leading investment source and destination for India. Singapore was the first country with which we signed a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement," Modi said.
"On the foundations of this extraordinary heritage, the wealth of our human links and the strength of our shared values, India and Singapore are building a partnership of our age. It is a relationship that truly meets the test of strategic partnership," the prime minister said, amid applause.
He said that India will work with Singapore to bring the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to early conclusion. He also said the India-Singapore Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement has been reviewed and the two sides will work to further upgrade it.
"As India's engagement with the region grows, Singapore will remain a gateway to ASEAN and the broader East. This year, Sinagapore's Chairmanship of ASEAN will take India's relations with ASEAN further and farther ahead," he added. Modi said that in many area of India's development priorities, Singapore is a key partner: smart cities, urban solutions, financial sector, skills development, ports, logistics, aviation and industrial parks.
"So, India and Singapore are contributing to each other's prosperity. And, now we are building new partnerships for the digital world," he said, adding they will be the bridge of innovation and enterprise between India, Singapore and ASEAN.
"Together, we will work for using the power of mobile and digital technology for governance and inclusion. Together, we can build a great economic partnership of the new age," he added.
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