Singapore: India and Singapore on Tuesday decided to set up a joint ministerial committee that would provide further impetus to rapidly developing bilateral ties. The ties have been especially strong in the areas of trade and economy.
External affairs minister, Pranab Mukherjee, and his Singaporean counterpart, George Yeo, held extensive discussions on bilateral and international issues of mutual interest during their talks.
The joint ministerial committee will monitor the progress of cooperation between the two countries in various fields and look into the maturity, depth and range of the rapidly developing bilateral ties, Mukherjee informed a joint press conference, in the presence of his Singaporean counterpart, George Yeo.
Describing the agreement as a "landmark" treaty, Yeo noted that it was the first time the two countries had set up a regular forum at a ministerial level to discuss and look into the growing bilateral cooperation.
After talks between here, the two sides also announced setting up of a Nalanda University mentor group, which would work out the modalities to restore the ancient seat of learning in the Indian State of Bihar. Minister Yeo would also be a part of the group.
Mukherjee also noted that defence cooperation was proceeding well between the two countries with joint exercises taking place.
Yeo noted that since the signing of the comprehensive economic cooperation agreement, bilateral trade had grown dramatically and hoped that the Asean-India FTA could be signed by the end of the year.
Mukherjee said India`s ties with the island republic had evolved into a strong partnership which could be seen by the frequency of high-level visits between the two nations.
Singapore is India`s largest trading partner in the Asean with trade figure touching $13 billion in 2006.