NEW DELHI: Singapore on Tuesday offered help in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream project of building 100 ‘smart cities’, with investments in infrastructure projects and urban development being key themes of the discussion between visiting Foreign Minister K Shanmugam and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
Interestingly, the report of the Committee of Inquiry into the Little India riot, released on Monday, also figured prominently in the talks. “We exchanged views on that,” MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said.
The committee had revealed that the riots, which were the worst Singapore had faced in the past 40 years, was “fuelled by alcohol abuse, misunderstanding over a traffic incident and first-responders”. While 25 Indian nationals were charged, two were recently found guilty and jailed.
Shanmugam will discuss the report with Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalitha, when he visits Chennai.
Meanwhile, Akbaruddin said the “focus” of the discussion was “largely economic”. “Perhaps many of you are aware that Singapore was the source of the largest FDI flow into India last year. It was also the destination of the largest flows of foreign investment from India last year,” he said. While there were talks about the review of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement, there was no mention of the General Anti Avoidance Rule on taxation.
Singapore offered help in building smart cities along infrastructure projects such as Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor. “We could identify one or two cities and do it as a template and work with India...,” Shanmugam told reporters.