Close people to people connections, business to business ties and government to government cooperation as well as complementary strengths in innovation, fintech and start-ups will ensure that more Indian companies use Singapore as their gateway to the ASEAN and the global markets.
The India-Singapore partnership is all set to grow exponentially in the years to come. Strong and mutually beneficial though it is at present, the current bilateral bonhomie is just a fraction of what can actually be achieved in the years to come. “India & Singapore: Two Sides of the Coin” at India Global Week, a virtual global summit organised by India Inc. brought together experts: Preeti Dawra, Founder and CEO, Asian Century Communications, Deepak Bagla, Managing Director & CEO, Invest India, Girish Ramachandran, President - Asia Pacific, Tata Consultancy Services Asia Pacific Pte Ltd, and Chng Kai Fong, Managing Director, Economic Development Board of Singapore to explore the potential that Singapore offers as a global platform for Indian businesses and how the relationship between Singapore and India is likely to evolve over time. Bagla said: “The India-Singapore relationship rests on three pillars - people to people, business to business and government to government. For Indian businesses, Singapore is an ideal point of entry into the ASEAN and for businesses in Singapore, you can't have a bigger market than India 1.3 billion consumers that will grow to 1.5 billion over the next few years.”
In his opening remarks, Chng pointed out that 9,000 Indian companies are present in Singapore, he added: “Increasingly, several Indian start-ups and unicorns are using Singapore to enter ASEAN... Historically, Indian immigrants are a key part of Singapore.” Ramachandran added,“Outflows from Singapore to India will only increase. There is a great opportunity for the two countries to leverage each other's strengths and take the relationship to another level. The Tatas have 30 companies in Singapore.” Bagla and Chng felt start-ups, innovation, MSMEs and fintech will power the bilateral relationship going forward. “India can use Singapore as an entry point to the international fintech market,” added Chng. “Indian engineers are among the best in the world; Singapore can provide a more diverse base for engineering.” Elaborating on the issue of innovation, Bagla pointed out that India is the world's leading location for R&D centres outside the home countries of the companies concerned. “Digitisation is one of the big things emerging from Covid; WFH is another thing that has come to stay.” Innovation and digitisation will play a big role in these and India offers readymade infrastructure and manpower to leverage these emerging trends. In this context, Chng said India is the cheapest mobile data market in the world. This tech innovation will completely change the way we work. This will generate innovation and business models that can be replicated in SE Asia. These synergies will facilitate seamless cooperation and economic engagement between India and Singapore.