India's Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday discussed with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong the issue of upgrading the bilateral partnership to a strategic level as well as a road map to enhance economic and commercial ties.
Winding up his two-day trip to the city state for showcasing Indian economy for potential investors, Jaitley ended his engagements with a call on Lee when they discussed measures to raise the level of their bilateral ties.
"They discussed the meeting between the two Prime Ministers and elevation of the India-Singapore partnership to a strategic level and actions taken to translate their vision," an official statement said.
"Both the leaders also discussed measures to increase engagements in bilateral trade and the further road map for enhancing India-Singapore economic and commercial ties," it added.
Earlier, Jaitley urged Singaporean businesses to invest in India, highlighting the country as one of the largest FDI recipients with the government undertaking major structural reforms, including Aadhaar, GST and demonetisation.
"India has become the most favourable and attractive destination for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)," he told an investors' roundtable here on Wednesday.
Jaitley said that to provide further impetus to the economy, "the present government has implemented a slew of economic reforms one after the other, including the Goods and Services Tax (GST) rollout, introduction of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) and recapitalisation package for the Public Sector Banks (PSBs)".
He said these will help to redress the banks' balance sheet problem and revive private investment.
"The Minister also spoke about the major initiatives undertaken, including the crackdown against black money through demonetisation and other follow-up measures and major changes in the FDI policy regime with an aim to make it more liberal and investor-friendly," the Finance Ministry said in a statement.
He also highlighted the "Ease of Doing Business" measures initiated in the last three years that resulted in India "jumping" in the World Bank's Index from 146 in 2014 to 100 in October.
Earlier, in his key note address at the Singapore Fintech Festival on Wednesday, Jaitley described how Aadhaar revolution coupled with financial inclusion and its potential applications in transferring of pension, scholarship and government subsidies directly to the actual beneficiaries under the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) Scheme was transforming the payment landscape in India.
He later met Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore, and discussed issues of mutual interest between the two nations.
He also met his Singaporean counterpart Heng Swee Keat and discussed key reforms being implemented by the Indian government along with measures to increase mutual bilateral investments.
He met the CEO and senior officials of the Government of Singapore Investment Corp (GIC) and discussed investment opportunities across multiple sectors in India, including the National Investment and Infstrategic relationship rastructure Fund (NIIF).
Jaitley met the SIA and DBS Group Holdings Chairman, CEO of Singapore Airlines, Chairman of Blackstone and President of Singapore Stock Exchange and discussed multiple issues of mutual interest.
He also visited Singapore Expo, a global event organised by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) attracting over 35,000 fintech participants, showcasing state of the art developments in fintech and engaging professionals and policy makers on insightful debates on fintech developments across the globe.
Earlier, Jaitley visited the India pavilion set up by Invest India, along with the state governments of Andhra Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal and Maharashtra, which are also participating in the Expo.
Meanwhile, in New Delhi, Singapore Minister of Trade and Industry S. Iswaran called on Indian Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu in New Delhi on Friday. Mr Naidu said that India admires Singapore's emergence as a shining example of a harmonious, multicultural and multiracial society.
The Vice President expressed his happiness that a Singapore consortium has started developing the start-up area in the new capital city Amaravati of Andhra Pradesh, which has potential to develop as a future model for new projects all over India.