By Anirban BhaumikNew Delhi, Feb 11 :India on Monday sought Singapore’s support to develop and enhance connectivity in the North-East.
A meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Singapore President Tony Tan Keng Yam on Monday identified the city-state’s support to New Delhi’s development and connectivity projects in and around North-East India as a new area of prospective bilateral cooperation.
New Delhi also sought Singapore’s support on urban rejuvenation, particularly on developing smart cities across the country. Singapore’s president arrived in New Delhi on Sunday for a four-day visit. He had a meeting with Modi at Hyderabad House here on Monday. He also had a separate meeting with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
According to a statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs, Modi and Tony Tan had “wide-ranging discussions on enhancement of bilateral relations and strengthening of cooperation on regional and international issues” to raise India-Singapore partnership “to a higher level”.
Sources told Deccan Herald that New Delhi was actively seeking Singapore’s support to its development and connectivity projects in North-East India. The move came in response to Beijing’s push for Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor, added sources.
Though India supported a Track-II study group on the BCIM-EC; the security establishments of New Delhi has been cagey about the economic corridor proposed by Beijing.
India’s reservation stems from anticipation that the BCIM-EC project would expose the North-Eastern states – a theatre of many secessionist insurgencies and ethnic conflicts – and its eastern frontier to growing economic influence of China. During a visit to India last month, Japan’s Foreign Minister, Fumio Kishida, said that Tokyo was ready to support New Delhi’s development initiatives in North-East India, which, according to him, could serve as a connective node between South and South-East Asia.