Singapore's success has been an inspiration for India, said visiting Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi on Monday (Nov 23), at the 37th Singapore lecture.
In his lecture entitled “India’s Singapore Story”, Mr Modi said he drew many lessons from Singapore, one of which was that the size of a nation is no barrier to its scale of achievement, and that the lack of resources is not constrained by inspiration, imagination and innovation.
Mr Modi, who is in Singapore on a two-day visit, said it is with that same vision that India is being transformed, under his administration.
He said: "So one set of our policy is to empower our people. The other set is to create the conditions in which enterprise flourishes, opportunities expand and the potential of our citizens are unlocked.
"So we are investing in our people through skills and education, (with a) special focus on girls’ education. Financial inclusion, sustainable habitats, clean rivers and smart cities and access to basic needs for all our citizens from water and sanitation to power and housing."
Mr Modi said with India's Look East policy, Singapore became a springboard for India, into the region.
India was Singapore's 13th largest trading partner in FY 2014-2015, while Singapore is among the largest foreign investors in India.
Amid the backdrop of regional uncertainties over issues such as territorial disputes and terrorism, Mr Modi stressed that it is even more crucial for India to deepen relations with the region.
"In the course of the last 18 months, my government has engaged more with this region than any other in the world,” he said. “From a new opening with Pacific island nations, Australia and Mongolia, to more intense engagement with China, Japan, Korea and ASEAN members. We have pursued our vision with purpose and vigour."
With the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community, Mr Modi said he looks forward to a more dynamic partnership between India and the 10-member grouping. His government will also work towards an early conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
The Free Trade Agreement, which is due to be concluded by the end of the year, is facing delays. It brings together 16 parties, including ASEAN, China and India.
On Tuesday, Mr Modi will receive an official welcome ceremony at the Istana. Both Singapore and India are expected to elevate relations by signing a Strategic Partnership. This will expand co-operation in key areas like smart cities and urban solutions, skills development, connectivity and economic co-operation.