DPM Wong, India’s PM Modi discuss clean energy and fintech cooperation

NEW DELHI – Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed new areas of cooperation such as clean energy and fintech during a meeting in Indian capital city New Delhi on Monday.

Mr Modi was also briefed about the outcomes of the inaugural session of the India-Singapore Ministerial Roundtable (ISMR), which was held last Saturday.

He conveyed his good wishes for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and the people of Singapore, and expressed his hope that initiatives such as the ISMR “would help further strengthen the bilateral relations between the two countries”.

Mr Wong, who is also Finance Minister, is on a five-day visit to India aimed at expanding cooperation between the two countries.

“We had excellent discussions on new areas of cooperation such as green hydrogen, solar energy, fintech, as well as data links,” said Mr Wong on Facebook following Monday’s meeting, which was also attended by Singapore Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong and Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs of India Nirmala Sitharaman.

“India is an important strategic partner of Singapore across many sectors. I am glad that the pace of bilateral engagements has picked up substantially as the pandemic subsides,” he added.

He also said he looked forward to restarting the Singapore-India Hackathon, which was disrupted by Covid-19, “to build bridges between our young talents”.

The hackathon was held in 2018 and then in 2019 with mixed teams of university students from both countries racing to create software solutions to real-life problems in areas such as education and clean energy.

India and Singapore share close economic and political ties, with regular high-level political exchanges that have picked up again with an exchange of visits in recent months.

Singapore Finance Minister Vivian Balakrishnan was in India for the Special Asean-India Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in June, while Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who is also Coordinating Minister for Social Policies, visited India in July.

The two sides held the 16th Foreign Office Consultations in Singapore in August.

Mr Wong, Dr Balakrishnan, Mr Gan, and Minister for Transport and Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations S. Iswaran formed the Singapore ministerial delegation at Saturday’s ISMR.

The Indian side included Ms Sitharaman, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal.