President Tan begins 4-day state visit to India

President Tan begins 4-day state visit to India

PRESIDENT Tony Tan Keng Yam is making a state visit to India this week to reaffirm ties and commemorate the 50th anniversary of the country's diplomatic relations with Singapore.

He arrived in New Delhi yesterday for his first state visit here and was received at the airport by India's Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways Pon Radhakrishnan.

During his four-day visit, Dr Tan will meet his counterpart, President Pranab Mukherjee, as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement yesterday.

He will also have meetings with other top Indian officials.

The state visit follows a series of trips by leaders of Singapore and India in recent months that have added momentum to bilateral relations.

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, Foreign and Law Minister K. Shanmugam, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen and Second Minister for Trade and Industry S. Iswaran have all visited India recently.

Four Indian chief ministers visited Singapore last year, while Mr Modi and President Mukherjee are scheduled to visit later this year.

During this trip, Dr Tan will inaugurate a Peranakan exhibition in the Indian capital that features artefacts from Singapore's Asian Civilisations Museum and Peranakan Museum, and launch a Singapore-India commemorative book.

Published by the Institute of South Asian Studies, the tome chronicles how Singapore-India relations have evolved and grown.

Dr Tan will also meet members of the Singaporean community in New Delhi for dinner.

The President is accompanied on the state visit to India by his wife, Mrs Mary Tan, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Environment and Water Resources Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong, Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Transport Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, and MP Vikram Nair.

In conjunction with the visit, Mrs Tan will be presenting a donation of 300 Singapore-themed books to the National Library of India. The donation is part of the Singapore National Library Board's SG50 Gift of Books project.

The titles cover topics such as Singapore's biodiversity, history, economic development, literature, and arts and culture.

Economic ties between the two countries are strong: India is one of Singapore's major trading partners, while Singapore was India's largest foreign direct investor in the last fiscal year, accounting for nearly US$6 billion (S$8.1 billion) of investment.

There are some 6,000 Indian companies in Singapore, double the number from 2011.

In Dr Tan's absence, chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers J. Y. Pillay will exercise the functions of the office of the President until Wednesday.

yanliang@sph.com.sg


For more stories, go to The Straits Times.

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