Describing Singapore as a "valued partner" Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh invited greater investment from the South East Asian nation, while on a two-day state visit to the country. The Prime Minister made the statement on Sunday, at a lunch hosted Singapore's Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong.
"Singapore has emerged as a valued partner for our ambitious plans for infrastructure development. It is India's largest trade and investment partner in ASEAN. We welcome greater investment and technology flows from Singapore," said Manmohan Singh, who also remarked to Lee Hsien Loong that "we in India regard you as an ardent advocate and supporter of our strong partnership."
"Our government places the highest priority on our relations with Singapore. Ours is a partnership that stands on the foundation of shared values of pluralism, secularism and democracy, and convergence of our perspectives on regional and international issues," he added.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also discussed various issues relating to investment and highlighted the requirement of funds from Singapore to develop infrastructure and other sectors in India.
It may be recalled that when Lee Hsien Loong visited India in 2005, the two countries signed a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement. Speaking about that agreement, Singh said that it "led to a qualitative upgradation of our trade and investment relations with Singapore."
"It was the opening of our relations with Singapore which led to a strategic shift in India's foreign and economic policies and which today has evolved into our 'Look East' policy. Singapore opened new horizons for India," he added.
The 79-year-old Prime Minister also praised the rapid transformation and economic growth of Singapore as "a beacon of hope" in the uncertain world we live in today. He continued, stating that the country (Singapore) served as an example not only for Asia but for the world at large.
"I look forward to your visit to India next year. This will give you an opportunity to see for yourself the developments that have taken place in India in the last several years, and the manner in which Singapore has contributed to India's progress," said Manmohan Singh, as he invited Lee Hsien Loong to India next year.
Meanwhile, Lee Hsien Loong has backed India for a permanent seat on the United Nation's Security Council. He reportedly said that his country looked forward to India playing a more active role in global affairs
The Prime Minister's South East Asian Visit
Addressing the 9th ASEAN-India Summit held in Bali, Indonesia, Manmohan Singh highlighted the need for greater connectivity and cooperation on security-related issues, including maritime security, counter-terrorism, military training and exercises and disaster management. The Prime Minister also spoke about the Eurozone crisis and pitched for greater economic integration between India and South East Asia to contribute to the world economy.
"We have grown at an average of 8.4 percent in the past five years. Like other countries we too have slowed down in 2011, but we still expect to grow around 7.5 percent. However, none of us can prosper in isolation to the rest of the world. The most serious fault line at present is what is happening in Eurozone," said the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister met the President of United States on Friday, at the sidelines of the 9th India-ASEAN Summit and the 6th East Asia Summit in Bali, Indonesia. Soon after, he met the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. At that meeting, the two discussed various issues, including the South China Sea dispute.
Referring to the issue, the Indian Prime Minister expressed his view that issues of sovereignty should be resolved according to international law and practice. He stated his belief that there was enough space for both India and China to flourish.