India and Singapore on Tuesday elevated their ties to the ‘strategic partnership’ level and signed bilateral agreements for enhanced defence cooperation and in areas like cyber security, shipping and civil aviation after Prime Minister Narendra Modi met his Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong.
Modi also met Singapore President Tony Tan Keng on the second day of his visit on Tuesday and was accorded a ceremonial welcome at Istana, the official residence and office of the president.
The 10 pacts signed by the two sides included a joint declaration by the two prime ministers on a strategic partnership.
“India and Singapore elevate their bilateral relations to a strategic partnership to deepen and broaden engagement in existing areas of cooperation and catalyse new ones ranging from political, defence and security cooperation to economic, cultural and people-to-people contact. The strategic partnership is also a framework to contribute to greater regional stability and growth,” the joint declaration said.
The other pacts included an agreement between the two countries on enhanced defence cooperation, which provides for defence ministers’ dialogue, joint exercises between armed forces, cooperation between defence industries to identify areas of co-production and co-development.
The two sides also signed an agreement on the extension of loan of artefacts to the Asian Civilisations Museum of Singapore and a memorandum of understanding between Indian Computer Emergency Response Team, the Indian IT department and Singapore Computer Emergency Response Team, Singapore’s Cyber Security Agency on security cooperation.
The MoU promotes closer cooperation and exchange of information pertaining to cyber security between the Computer Emergency Response Teams of the two countries by establishment of a broader framework for future dialogue; exchange of information on cyber attacks; research collaboration in smart technologies; cyber security policies and best practices as well as professional exchanges.
An MoU was also signed between Airports Authority of India and Singapore Cooperation Enterprise to facilitate mutual cooperation in a number of mutually agreed areas of civil aviation services and airport management beginning with Jaipur and Ahmedabad airports.
Another pact was signed between National Institution for Transforming India (and Singapore Cooperation Enterprise on cooperation in the field of planning. This MoU promotes knowledge and information exchange in urban planning, waste water management, solid waste management and public-private partnerships between the two organisations.
The Narcotics Control Bureau of India and the Central Narcotics Bureau of Singapore also signed an MoU on cooperation to combat illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substance and their precursors.
The agreement facilitates and enhances cooperation by exchange of information on trends in illicit manufacture and those arrested on drug trafficking charges and establishes direct contact points between the two bureaus. Other areas identified for cooperation include capacity building, skill upgrading and knowledge development.
Another MoU between the Town and Country Planning Organisation of India and the Singapore Cooperation Enterprise in CapacityBuilding in urban planning and governance provides for wider engagement between the two nations.
Besides, both sides inked an executive programme document on cooperation in the fields of arts, heritage, archives and library for 2015-18.
The programme envisages a detailed plan of action and cooperation in the field of arts, museums, archives, monuments, library and exchange of technical experts and students for 2015-18.
The two countries also signed an operationalisation document for the technical agreement on sharing ‘White Shipping Information’ between the Indian Navy and Singapore Navy signed on July 21, 2015.
Following the signing of a technical agreement between the two navies on sharing ‘White Shipping Information’ in July 2015, both sides have established a two-way linkage. This has enhanced bilateral cooperation in maritime security.
Ministry of external affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup later tweeted that 10 bilateral documents were signed across sectors, showing “a large bandwidth of cooperation”.
These included a joint declaration on strategic partnership to defence, cyber security, shipping, culture, and the agreements showcase strength of bilateral ties, Swarup tweeted. The two prime ministers also released commemorative stamps on Rashtrapati Bhawan and Istana (the official residence and office of the President of Singapore).
Modi, who arrived on Monday evening and addressed the prestigious Singapore Lecture, held a breakfast meeting with prominent citizens of Singapore earlier on Tuesday.
Later, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong called on Modi. In his Lecture on Monday, Modi talked about contributions made by Tong, who was Singapore’s second prime minister, towards strong ties between India and Singapore.