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June 19, 2007

Singapore, India sign agreement to boost bilateral ties
Singapore and India on June 19 signed an agreement to establish a Joint Ministerial Committee for Bilateral Cooperation.

Singapore's Foreign Minister George Yeo and visiting Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee inked the agreement, aiming to deepen collaboration in the arts, heritage and archives between the two countries, according to Channel NewsAsia report.

The ministers also agreed to establish an India-Singapore strategic dialogue, a regular forum including government officials, members of parliament, industrialists and think tankers.
On India's side, it will be led by ambassador Satvinder Lambah and on Singapore's side by ambassador Tommy Koh.

Yeo also gave an update on the Nalanda project, which aims to re-establish the Nalanda University in Bihar, India, saying the first Nalanda symposium, which Singapore agreed to host during the last Associating of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit, will be held this July.

Mukherjee said he was quite confident with the cooperation and understanding between the two countries.

"Bilateral relationship is expanding very well. Singapore is not only the largest trading partner, it's also the biggest investor to India from this region. In addition to that, Singapore is the greatest facilitator to India's access to all these structures which we're having now in Southeast Asia and East Asia," Channel NewsAsia quoted him as saying.

In addition, Mukherjee met with Singapore's Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong on Tuesday afternoon, according to a statement by Prime Minister's Office.

The two leaders discussed ways of enhancing bilateral cooperation and also exchanged views on key developments in Asia.

Goh expressed the view that India's economic growth was beneficial for the region and encouraged India to step up its engagement of the region, said the statement.

Since the signing of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement between Singapore and India in 2005, there have been many high-level visits.

Forty percent of India's ASEAN trade comes from Singapore and Singapore is also the seventh largest foreign investor in India. Xinhua

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