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India, Singapore launch CEOs forum


New Delhi : India and Singapore Wednesday launched a CEOs forum, comprising top corporate leaders, to provide further push to business ties that have been growing following a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement the two countries signed nearly two years ago.

The forum will be co-chaired by steel magnate Ratan Tata, chairman of the Tata Group, from the Indian side and Koh Boon Hwee, chairman of DBS Group Holdings Ltd and DBS Bank Ltd, representing the Singaporean side.

"The forum will examine developments in India-Singapore relations consequent to the conclusion of the CECA," said External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is currently on a three-day visit to the city state.

"It could also suggest specific sectors as focus areas for the near term while making recommendations aimed at enhancing long-term complementarities between India and Singapore," Mukherjee added.

The India-Singapore CEOs Forum will be jointly managed by International Enterprise Singapore (IE Singapore) and Singapore Business Federation (SBF) from Singapore and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) from India, a press release by the CII said.

A day after India and Singapore announced the establishment of strategic dialogue, Mukherjee and Minister of Trade and Industry of Singapore Lim Hng Kiang also launched the India Business Forum (IBF) in Singapore.

The forum, a brainchild of the CII, is chaired by Girija Pande, head, Asia Pacific, TCS.

"IBF is today 30 companies strong. We hope to add more as we go along. IBF will be the voice of Indian industry in Singapore," said Lt Gen S. S. Mehta, Director General of the CII.

Singapore is home to over 2,500 Indian companies with diverse business interests ranging from sectors like retail to fast growing IT companies.

India and Singapore, New Delhi's biggest trade partner in the ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations), Tuesday agreed to set up a joint ministerial committee to boost bilateral cooperation and announced establishment of a strategic dialogue forum.

The strategic dialogue forum would be co-chaired by Indian prime minister's special envoy S.K. Lambah and Tommy Koh, Singapore's ambassador-at-large.

Besides meeting his Singaporean counterpart George Yeo, Mukherjee also called on President S.R. Nathan, a Singaporean of Tamil Indian descent, and senior minister Goh Chok Tong and discussed with them bilateral issues, including political and cultural ties, for expanding economic relations and defence and security issues.