Indian Prime Minister Modi emphasizes reforms in Singapore investment push

SINGAPORE – In a plea for Singapore investments, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed Tuesday that reforms have been made under his watch, as the two countries elevated their relations to a strategic partnership.

The reforms, particularly economic, have “successfully restored the credibility of India in the eyes of global players,” Modi told Singaporean and Indian businesspeople from more than 300 companies at an economic convention.

Singapore is the second-largest source of direct foreign investment in India, he said. The city-state was also involved in the planning of Amaravati, the new capital city of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

“In the last 18 months, reforms are happening in a big way. Simply, with the aim of enabling the people to realize their potential and dreams,” Modi said.

“I am here to invite you to India in a bigger way. I also come to ensure you that I’m there to carefully hold your hands. You are an exciting incubator, India is a vast laboratory.”

Modi’s two-day visit to the island nation, arranged to mark 50 years of diplomatic relations, was to draw to a close later Tuesday after a community event with Indian expatriates.

According to India’s Ministry of External Affairs, trade between the two countries totalled $17.1 billion in the 2014-2015 fiscal year.

Singapore is India’s 10th-largest trading partner, while India is Singapore’s 12th-largest partner, official statistics show.

During Modi’s visit the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding that “elevates our bilateral relations to a new level,” said S. Iswaran, Singapore’s minister for trade and industry.

“While government leaders and officials on both sides will do their part, much will also depend on our business leaders and investors boldly seizing opportunities in India, Singapore and third-country markets,” he said.