|Event Title:||ISAS-CII Closed Door Session|
|Topic:||The Future of Singapore-India Relations|
|Date/Time:||Tuesday,21 August 2018 10:00 - Thursday,17 July 2019 09:19|
|Venue:||ISAS Board Room, Level 9, 29 Heng Mui Keng Terrace|
|Description:||On 21 August 2018 ISAS researchers and delegates from the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) met to discuss the future of India-Singapore relations. The 2-hours interactive session was moderated by Prof Raja Mohan, Director of ISAS. Amb Gopinath Pillai, Chairman of the Institute, and Mr Rakesh Bharti Mittal, President of the CII and Vice Chairman of Bharti Enterprises, delivered the opening remarks.
ISAS research staff and CII delegates exchanged views on current economic issues, India’s potential as a destination for Singaporean investments, and the state of RCEP negotiations. Chairman Pillai proposed to enhance ISAS-CII collaboration with a joint workshop to be held annually, as a platform for the two country to discuss each other’s realities and further strengthen ties. The proposal was welcomed by Mr Mittal and his fellow CII representatives, who praised ISAS’ commitment to produce policy-relevant work, and highlighted the importance reserved by CII not only to Business-to-Business interactions, but also to Business-to-Government and Business-to-Academia linkages.
The conversation highlighted a number of relevant points. At the moment, the circumstances result favourable for Singapore-India partnership to step forward. It was agreed that the trade wars developing between China and the United States provide an excellent opportunity for investments to be diverted towards India. It was recognized that Singapore investors often struggle to see India as a comfortable and reliable destination for investments due to a “cultural shock”. Enhanced infrastructure and governance, soft-skills training as well as people-to-people contact will certainly be beneficial to improve the perception of India and bring the two countries closer. ISAS looks at CII as an important channel for Singaporean SMEs willing to find business partners in India.
In addition to this, as stated by Mr Bharti Mittal, CII will soon release a code of conduct for SMEs and the banking sector. Innovation, education and the entertainment industry were mentioned as some of the sectors with highest potential for promoting economic cooperation between the two countries. With regard to the RCEP, it was highlighted how perceptions played a role in the evolving negotiations. ASEAN countries are concerned about RCEP developing outside the ASEAN framework, being often projected by India as an FTA with China. A change in India’s negotiating stance would certainly result beneficial to this regard.