PM asks Singapore firms to invest in Indian infrastructure

New Delhi:
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has sought increased investment from Singaporean companies in order to boost the development of India''s infrastructure.

"We are aware of the strengths of your companies in various sectors and we welcome investment particularly in developing our infrastructure, which will require huge capital in the years to come," Singh said at a banquet in honour of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at Hyderabad House Wednesday night.

Senior cabinet ministers, including Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath and Home Minister Shivraj Patil, along with distinguished invitees such as businessmen Ratan Tata, Sunil Mittal, media baron Subhash Chandra and actor Rani Mukherjee, attended the banquet.

The CECA, which will come into effect Aug 1, is an integrated package comprising a Free Trade Agreement, a bilateral agreement on investment promotion and protection, an improved double taxation avoidance agreement and a work programme of cooperation in healthcare, education, media and tourism.

Calling the CECA "a historic milestone in our bilateral ties," he also thanked Singapore for playing "an important role" in helping forge "an ASEAN consensus" on India''s participation in the first East Asia Summit to be held at Kuala Lumpur in December this year.

"We have admired your rapid growth and progress to economic prosperity under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and his successors. You have managed to sustain high levels of economic growth while maintaining social and religious harmony and public order and discipline," he told Lee, son of former prime minister Lee Kuwan Yew.