In Singapore, Modi committed himself to Southeast Asia

SingaporeWritten By: Kartikeya SharmaUpdated: Jun 02, 2018, 11:23 PM IST

Modi has an orchid named after him in Singapore. The orchid was named 'Dendrobrium Narendra Modi'. Photograph:(Others)

Only way to sum up Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Southeast Asia is that he showcased his commitment to this region as India's and Asia's joint future. Though he met US Defence Secretary James Mattis, he never let the focus waver from ASEAN. Such was his commitment to ASEAN that it remained central even to his keynote address at the Shangri-La Dialogue.

He even used his RuPay contactless card to pay for a souvenir to buy a $26 Madhubani-Mithila style of painting in Singapore. 

He also met Defence Secretary James Mattis at Fullerton Hotel on Saturday and discussed India's role in helping to bring about a peaceful, prosperous and open Asia. It was no pull-aside. Mattis called on him. 

Former Singapore prime minister Goh Chok Tong said that Modi's personal initiative will create trust among leaders and will play an important role in fostering bilateral and regional goodwill among nations

Both leaders also unveiled a plaque at Clifford Pier where the ashes of India's founding father Mahatma Gandhi were immersed in 1948.

Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated on January 30th by a Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse and his ashes were placed in several urns and sent across the world and within India.

An urn was also sent to Singapore. Indian Government representative John Thivytook scattered the contents of the urn into the sea from Clifford Pier.

But what made the most emotional moment of the day was rendition of Bapu's favourite song Raghupathi Raghava Raja Ram by 5 Indian origin girls before Narendra Modi and Goh.

Prime Minister Modi also visited Singapore's Botanic Garden where an orchid - the Dendrobium Narendra Modi - was named after him.

Modi also took a tour of Little India. He walked through Jamae Chulia Mosque, the Sri Mariamman Temple and the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. 

He also visited the Indian Heritage Centre, where he launched a cultural platform, Kala Sangam. The platform will invite 12 traditional craftsmen from India annually from 2018. Modi also visited Singapore's frigate and India's INS Satpura stealth frigate at the Changi Naval Base.

A day earlier, the Ministry of Trade had announced that Singapore and India will reduce remove tariffs on 30 products and improve rules of origin and facilitate mutual recognition of nursing standards of CECA between the two countries.

Tariffs on 30 products are expected to be reduced to the level under the free trade agreement between India and ASEAN.