India, Asean should toegther enhance digital connectivity: Singapore deputy premier
Singapore deputy prime minister and coordinating minister for economic policies Heng Swee Keat. (Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images for Singapore Sports Hub)
INDIA and the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) should join hands to explore ways to enhance the digital connectivity further economic cooperation between the two regions, Singapore’s deputy prime minister and coordinating minister for economic policies Heng Swee Keat on Wednesday (11) said.
He also said that the city-state is interested in partnering India for better integration of digital economies and both countries should enable the sharing of data and avoid data localisation.
Singapore is one of the members of the Asean, a 10-member bloc that also includes Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Brunei and the Philippines.
“Asean is a fast-growing consumer market with a growing middle class and a population that is increasingly digitally connected. As such beyond movement of goods and physical connectivity, it is also important for Asean and India to explore ways to enhance digital connectivity,” Swee Keat said at the Confederation of Indian Industry’s (CII) two-day Annual Meeting 2021 that kicked off on Wednesday.
The Singaporean minister said that India and Singapore should facilitate offline and online merchant transactions. “As we harness the digital economy, we must enable the sharing of data and avoid data localisation and as more activities go digital as a result of the pandemic, there is even greater impetus to accelerate our efforts to integrate our digital realms and enable more seamless flow of data, services and payments,” he added.
Swee Keat also spoke on the free-trade agreement between India and Singapore to say that both nations have benefited from the pact and their bilateral trade and investment have grown at a healthy rate.
Talking about India-Singapore free trade agreement, Swee Keat said that both the nations have benefited from the pact and bilateral trade and investments have grown at a healthy rate.
The bilateral trade between India and Singapore in 2020-21 stood at $22 billion. Also, in that fiscal, India received the highest foreign direct investments from Singapore — $17.5 billion.
“There is a significant potential to collaborate in new areas of opportunities such as fintech and sustainability… We must work closely to manage this very very agile (COVID-19) virus,” he added. He also said that the doors are open for India to join RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) and Singapore will work with India, when it is ready to do so.
On November 4, 2019, India walked out of mega free trade agreement RCEP as negotiations failed to address New Delhi’s outstanding issues and concerns.
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi was set to address the CII Annual Meeting around 4.30 pm India time on Wednesday. According to the official release by the prime minister’s office, the theme of the meeting is ‘[email protected]: Government and Business working together for Aatmanirbhar Bharat’.