Enormous opportunity for collaboration between India, ASEAN: Singapore minister
The opportunity for collaboration between India and ASEAN is enormous as both regions have strong fundamentals, from demographics or evolution their respective economies, and the needs of the population, Singapore’s Trade and Industry Minister, S. Iswaran said Saturday.
Iswaran was addressing over 3000 delegates at the Asean-India Pravasi Bhartiya Divas, and called upon both regions could pool their resources and talent, and collaborate in key areas to achieve maximum results.
ASEAN countries have an impetus to integrate their markets, to meet aspirations of their citizens, and realize the potential of its economies, and a similar effort is being undertaken in India by prime minister Modi, and we are now seeing the results (of those efforts), Iswaran added.
He said both India and ASEAN countries were engaged in ambitious plans building out infrastructure, and this offered successful firms in this space to work together, and expand from their domestic markets and target the whole region.
The success of Singaporean companies (Ascendas-Singbridge and Sembcorp Development) in developing Amaravati (new capital city of Andhra Pradesh), is just an example of what we can do together, he added.
Singapore’s Trade and Industry Minister pointed out that the city-state had established an infrastructure office to facilitate the structuring of bankable, sound infrastructure projects, and said the initiative would go beyond legal and financial backing, but would also engineering support, execution and launch large scale ventures in the region.
“Within infrastructure, we are focusing on smart cities and that is an area of priority for India too,” he added.
Iswaran said India and ASEAN countries could collaborate in the area of startups and innovation.
“India has identified startups and innovation and investments as a major priority, and we are doing that in Singapore, and many of our ASEAN member states are also acting accordingly.”
“With the evolution of industries and sectors, across all verticals, the disruption factor and the potential for new players to come in significant – the interesting thing about startups is that they need to be connected regionally or globally. Startups no longer reach a certain scale domestically before they go global – these days, they are connecting with other markets early in their development,” he added.
He said digital economy and ecommerce offered possibilities for both regions to work together. Iswaran emphasized that digitalization offered opportunities for SMEs to access markets that were traditionally beyond their means, and unleash the potential of the enterprise ecosystem.
“We (Singapore) have functioned as a gateway for Indian businesses coming to ASEAN, and for ASEAN businesses going into Asia – that has been our strength and it is reflected in the Indian and ASEAN businesses that are incorporated here. So, I think that the potential is enormous – we must focus on sectors where we can get maximum outcome,” Iswaran added.