Modi's whirlwind diplomacy: After Malaysia, wooing investors in Singapore

SingaporeWritten By: Kartikeya SharmaUpdated: May 31, 2018, 07:41 PM IST

PM Modi in Singapore Photograph:(Twitter)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday met his Malaysian counterpart Mahathir Mohammad. Modi had dropped the second leg of the Indonesia tour to ensure that meeting between him and the newly elected 92-year-old leader takes place.

The two leaders exchanged views on strengthening relationship between both the countries. They also discussed economic relationship and cultural connect between India and Malaysia. Modi met Mahathir at his office in Perdana Putra Complex in Putrajaya.

"Glad to have met Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. I thank him for the warm welcome. We had productive discussions on further cementing India-Malaysia ties," Modi tweeted.
What made this meeting important is that Modi is among the first world leaders to meet Mahathir Mohamad, who became the world's oldest elected leader when his opposition alliance registered a stunning victory over the Barisan Nasional Coalition which has ruled the country since 1950s. He was sworn in as the country's 10th Prime minister on May 10. Modi last visited Malaysia in November 2015. India and Malaysia have close ties in infrastructure development, defence, tourism and education. The trade between India and Malaysia stands at $15.44 billion.

During his brief stopover, Modi also met with Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and her husband Anwar Ibrahim. "Good discussion took place to take our relationship to newer heights," MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted. "Malaysia is a strategic partner and a priority country in our Act East Policy," Raveesh Kumar said.

Modi had announced before starting his three-nation tour that he will make a brief halt in Malaysia to meet Mahathir and congratulate the new Malaysian leadership.

After concluding his whirlwind trip, the Indian Prime Minister arrived in Singapore where he will deliver a keynote address at the Shangri-La Dialogue, an annual security meet, on Friday. After his arrival Modi met young entrepreneurs in the city. Two of them were from his state Gujarat who are part of the Atal Tinkering Lab policy initiative of the government. Technologies related to artificial intelligence, data analytics, machine learning and cyber security were demonstrated to the Prime Minister.

In Singapore, Prime Minister Modi launched RuPay, Bhim App and UPI enable remittance app by the State Bank of India. He also addressed the Indian business community saying that Indian diaspora in Singapore represents diversity of India.

"When India opened up to the world and turned to the east, Singapore became a partner and a bridge between India and Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations)," Modi said while addressing a business and community event.

"Political relations between India and Singapore are among the warmest and closest," he said.

"India's manufacturing sector is rebounding, showing a sharp rise in FDI. The Indian startup sector is flourishing too and is now the third largest in the world," Modi said.

Singapore is both a leading investment source and destination for India and is the first country with which we signed a comprehensive agreement, he added.

His Singapore stopover is the third and final leg of his five-day tour of Southeast Asia.