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‘Chaiwala’ Modi continues to weave his charm in Singapore

Prime Minister Narendra Modi rounded off his two-day state visit to Singapore by weaving his charm with the Indian Diaspora, which forms approximately nine percent of the city-state’s total population, in Hall Number One and Two of the Singapore Expo venue.

He was given a huge and resounding applause, as he began his address with a reference to the landmark contributions of “Little India” in Singapore’s development as a modern city-state.

He said, “The way you merged into every nation you went has been wonderful. Today, the world looks towards India with great faith. You played a great role in this. The good part is the people of India have decided that they want a clean India.”

He further stated, “There is a lot that Singapore can teach us. One example is cleanliness.”

He said that this was not his first visit to Singapore, as he had come a few months ago to pay his tribute to the man who built Singapore Lee Kuan Yew.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister India and Singapore signed five agreements and five memoranda of understanding (MOUs), including a joint declaration to take the strategic partnership between the two countries forward. There was also an agreement on furthering bilateral defence cooperation, sharing of information on white shipping, and pacts on cooperation in the fields of arts, heritage archives and library science.

The five MoUs inked focused on cooperation in civil aviation, planning, capacity building, urban planning and governance, cyber security and cooperation to combat illicit trafficking in narcotics drugs.

Prime Minister Modi and his Singapore counterpart Lee Hsein Loong also released commemorative stamps depicting Rashtrapati Bhawan and Istana, the official residence of the Singapore President to mark 50 years of bilateral relations.

The Indian Prime Minister also visited the Institute of Technical Education campus here along with his Singaporean counterpart to know about vocational courses and skill development.

Homage was also offered at the Indian National Army Memorial Marker in Singapore and extensive interaction with children and people present at the venue.

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose had laid the foundation stone for a memorial dedicated to the “Unknown Warrior” of the Indian National Army (INA) in July 1945.

On his maiden prime ministerial visit to Singapore, Modi also addressed an economic convention and met CEOs of Singapore.

Speaking at the economic convention, he assured investors that he would ‘carefully hold’ their hands and expressed hope that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime that is yet to be passed by the Indian Parliament would be rolled out next year.

He described Singapore as an important and valuable friend of India in terms of regional and global outlook.

“We regard Singapore as an essential ally in the implementation of our Look and Act East Policy. I am fully aware of the important role Singapore has played in the implementation of this policy. I look forward to working with Singapore in a bigger way,” he added.

Prime Minister Modi said India is undergoing economic and social transformation on a scale and a speed that is unmatched in history.

“The Indian economy is the fastest growing economy among major countries. We are also working hard that the benefits of this growth reaches to the common man. We have launched major schemes on financial inclusion. Our strategy is to energise the economy, empower the people, fund the un-funded, secure the poor and enhance the income level of all,” he added. (ANI)