• Sunday, October 01, 2023


India PM wishes Shanmugaratnam on becoming Singapore president: ‘Look forward to…’

Shanmugaratnam, who has served as Singapore’s deputy prime minister in the past, secured a landslide victory in the election held on September 1.

(L-R) Singapore’s president-elect Tharman Shanmugaratnam (Photo by TORU YAMANAKA/AFP via Getty Images) and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

INDIAN prime minister Narendra Modi on Saturday (2) congratulated Tharman Shanmugaratnam on the Indian-origin leader’s election as the president of the Southeast Asian city-state of Singapore that saw such a poll after more than a decade.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Modi said, “Hearty congratulations @Tharman_s on your election as the President of Singapore. I look forward to working closely with you to further strengthen the India-Singapore Strategic Partnership.”

Shanmugaratnam, who has served as Singapore’s deputy prime minister in the past, scored a landslide victory in the election held on Friday (1) with more than 70 per cent vote share. The 66-year-old economist will be Singapore’s ninth president. He will succeed Halimah Yacob.

‘Did not expect such high endorsement’

Reacting to pouring congratulatory messages over his triumph, Shanmugaratnam said on Saturday that he was surprised by “such a high degree of endorsement” and that he was very serious about wanting to fulfil the mandate that the voters gave.

Speaking to journalists at his first doorstop interview since the official result was declared, he said, “I did not expect such a high degree of endorsement, which also means there was a fair number of people who would normally not vote in favour of the ruling party, who decided that this was not a political election, this is not a General Election. And they decided to vote for me, and I think that’s also very encouraging.”

Describing the result as “remarkable unity” from Singaporeans, the economist-turned-politician said he thinks Singaporeans “have been very sensible in the way they voted.”

“I think it’s also interesting that Singaporeans, whom I believe want a non-partisan President … They do not think that having been a member of a political party or even being a member of Cabinet should diminish a person’s ability to be non-partisan,” Channel News Asia quoted the former deputy prime minister and senior minister as saying.

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