ASSOCHAM Webinar on exploring emerging areas of cooperation between India and Singapore

New Delhi: To promote trade and investment and explore emerging business opportunities between India and Singapore, ASSOCHAM organised an exclusive webinar with H.E. Shri P. Kumaran, Indian High Commissioner to Singapore, titled “Discovering Future Opportunities for India-Singapore Cooperation Post Covid-19”.

H. E. Mr. P. Kumaran, India’s High Commissioner to Singapore underlined that India and Singapore share a broad-based and multifaceted relationship with close people-to-people and deep economic linkages. “Both countries have convergent views and support each other mutually on various multilateral for and share a respect for stable, rule-based world order.”

Mr. Kumaran reaffirmed that India views Singapore as a key springboard for its ASEAN outreach and the political leadership on both sides are closely engaged and committed to building a stronger and stable regional and bilateral partnership

Talking about the potential areas of cooperation, Mr. Kumaran said that there is a vast potential for collaboration in emerging sectors based on Industry 4.0 in areas including Fintech, Startups, SaaS, Cloud Computing & AI, Cybersecurity, Healthtech, Telemedicine, Smart Pharmaceuticals & Smart Medical Devices, IoT based Water Distribution and Management Systems, Smart City Solutions, Logistics, Ports, Green Energy, EVs, Wind Energy et al

In view of the constantly evolving geopolitical, economic and global health priorities, India must focus on skill development and capacity building of the huge young population joining the workforce each year, he further added.

An exclusive panel of speakers comprising of leading experts and thought leaders from Government, Industry and Research Think-tank from both countries shared insights and updates on Indian & Singaporean economies and complementarities, India-Singapore trade & investment scenario, existing and emerging business opportunities and the way forward post COVID-19.

In his welcome remarks, Mr. Deepak Sood, Secretary General, ASSOCHAM, hailed the opportune timing of this webinar and described it as a great initiative to strengthen India-Singapore economic relations. Mr. Sood emphasised that the relocation of value chains across the world is going to see a change from larger geographies and India stands to gain from this change. He also said that lately Singapore companies are increasingly collaborating with Indian corporations and business counterparts, especially tapping opportunities in health-tech, rural-tech, e-commerce and smart-city development programme. This is the right time to take the bilateral trade and investment to the next level, he further added.

ASSOCHAM Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Transport Corporation of India, Mr. Vineet Agarwal, in his opening remarks said that India-Singapore economic cooperation has enormous potential for growth, which can bring great economic and strategic benefits to both nations. “There are global value chains that are looking to shift to India, and Singapore can play a very vital role in channelling those investments into India,” Mr. Agarwal added.

Making a presentation on Opportunities for Singapore companies in India, Mr. Neeraj Bhagat, Director, NBC Advisors Pvt. Ltd., highlighted the latest statistics of bilateral trade and investment between the two countries. Infrastructure, Tourism and Agriculture are among the best sectors for Singapore to invest in India, he added. Mr. Bhagat also highlighted the various incentives and schemes of Indian Govt. to attract FDI into the country.

Noted economist, Dr. Amitendu Palit, highlighted the complementarities of the Singaporean economy vis à vis the Indian economy and the business opportunities that emerge thereof. Agriculture, logistics, E-learning and tele medicine are the emerging areas of collaboration between India and Singapore, Dr. Palit further added.

Mr. Maneesh Tripathi, Vice Chairman, Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry, in his remarks said that India-Singapore made excellent progress in terms of bilateral trade and investment, after the signing of Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) and ASEAN-India Free Trade Area (AIFTA). Talking about what Singapore is looking for in the next 1 – 2 years, he mentioned China plus one strategy, meaning that many businesses are looking at supply chain remapping where Indian businesses can come as a second partner. Similarly, ASEAN companies are looking at Singapore as a base and then move to the rest of the world. Both ways, Singapore becomes the launch pad. Second is remapping of Agri and essential commodities supply chain. Most of the ASEAN countries are looking for suppliers which are 200 miles by road (if connected by road) or 5 hours of flight time, which presents a huge opportunity for Indian Companies which are in essential commodities sector.

Agritech and sustainability are two areas where Singapore can play a significant role in bringing the latest technology and investment, said Mr. Srinivasan Venkita Padmanabhan, President – Finance & Global Head, Olam Group. Investment in agritech will improve agricultural practices, remove wastages and increase the yields for farmers. As India is water scarce, Singapore can bring in latest technologies to preserve water, he further added.

Mr. Manish Goenka, Vice President & Head – ASEAN, Tech Mahindra, talked about why Indian companies should explore Singapore as an investment destination. Singapore has created an excellent ecosystem of Govt. agencies that are encouraging innovation, providing right environment for start-ups and other tech companies to do new things in a much quicker, non-red tape centric environment. Citizen services, healthtech, tele health, edutech, digital banking are some of the new areas where India can gain a lot by collaborating with Singapore companies

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