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India and Singapore sign strategic partnership deals

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New Delhi: Aiming to further bolster bilateral ties, India and Singapore inked nine accords on Tuesday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his two-day visit agreed on nine bilateral accords with the country.

The joint agreements would help develop enhanced and profound relations, said an official statement released after the meeting.

“Strategic partnership to deepen and broaden engagement in existing areas of cooperation and catalyse new ones ranging from political, defence and security cooperation to economic, cultural and people to people contact,” it read.

The statement also underscored the need to develop these relations as better regional steadiness could be achieved through united efforts of countries.

“The strategic partnership is also a framework to contribute to greater regional stability and growth,” it added.

Modi also tweeted about the meeting saying the discussions were productive and ideas were deliberated to develop further cooperation between the two Asian countries.

 

 

 

Two agreements on defence collaboration and loan of artefacts from India to Singapore were also signed. Executive plan documents on arts, culture and five memorandums of understandings (MoUs) on civil aviation, information exchange in the areas of development, urban planning, and fighting drug trafficking were also signed.

After the striking of the deals, Vikas Swarup, spokesperson of external affairs ministry of India tweeted that both the prime ministers understood the significance of culture between the two countries and exhilarated more exhibitions, exchanges and collaborations.

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi and the Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr. Lee Hsien Loong jointly releasing the India Singapore stamps, in Istana, Singapore on November 24, 2015. (PIB)
The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi and the Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr. Lee Hsien Loong jointly releasing the India Singapore stamps, in Istana, Singapore on November 24, 2015. (PIB)

The two Prime Ministers also released two postal stamps displaying Rashtrapati Bhavan and Istana, the Singaporean presidential palace. The stamps were unveiled to mark the 50 years of diplomatic associations between the two nations.

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World Food India 2017: Netherlands to Participate as the ‘Focus Country’

To promote the grand event, Harsimrat Kaur Badal was in the Netherlands

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world food india
World Food India 2017. Facebook
  • The World Food India 2017 is to be organized in Delhi from the 3rd to 5th November
  • Netherlands has recently announced itself participating as the ‘focus country.’ 
  • India and Netherland have good bilateral ties, and this is another significant step forward

August 26, 2017: The World Food India 2017 will be organized from 3rd to 5th November in New Delhi. On Wednesday, Netherlands declared that it wishes to participate as a ‘focus country.’

Martijn van Dam, Netherlands’ Minister of Agriculture, expressed the decision of Netherlands to be the ‘Focus Country’ at the 2017 World Food India to the Minister of Food Processing Harsimran Kaur Badal.

Also Read: Dorset Indian Mela: Indian food festival on August 26 in the UK to Showcase different varieties of Cuisine and Culture

A business, as well as official delegation, will be sent by Netherlands for the event organized in the capital of India.

To promote the grand event, Harsimrat Kaur Badal was in the Hague, Netherlands.

The objective of the World Food India 2017 is to explain the policy environment of India to the global food industry. It further seeks to establish India as a major player in the global industry and provide investment platforms.

Netherlands, being the ‘focus country’ at the event, will get to showcase its expertise and knowledge about the food processing sector. This will include seminars through the country.

Harsimrat Kau badal speaking to ANI, stated, “World Food India welcomes The Netherlands as Focus Country and hopes that participation from The Netherlands will help businesses from both sides to leverage each other’s strengths for mutual benefit.” She also highlighted that good bilateral relationship exists between India and Netherlands and this is another step forward.

Netherlands has invested close to US $6 billion into India in the last couple of years. India is also doing good business with over 200 companies from Netherlands. However, there is still so much more potential of development.


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Singapore is becoming a popular Overseas Destination among Indians

The cruise operators offer vegetarian meals, local cuisine and special events reflecting the culture and local traditions that appeal to South Asian guests

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Singapore is becoming a popular overseas destination
Cruise ship Costa Victoria at the Singapore Cruise Centre. Wikimedia Commons
  • Singapore has become a popular overseas destination among Indians not for its food or casinos but for its cruise.
  • Fly cruise tourism has become the new trend
  • The cruise operators offer Indian cuisine, Bollywood songs, cultural events, in order to provide a local touch and please the Indian guests

New Delhi, July 30, 2017: The rank of the hawker food or the city-state’s casinos has dropped in the list of the reasons to visit Singapore, as traveling on a cruise is becoming the current favorite activity among Indians.

Singapore is a destination that most Indians have been choosing for their trip abroad, but the case now is that most people wish to go to Singapore, not for all the exciting things they can do there, but to get on a ship.

Rahul Maini, an Indian architect, and his parents embarked on their first trip abroad in May, and with the similar purpose.

Around 100,000 Indians sailed from Singapore last year, making India the biggest market for cruises departing from the Southeast Asian nation, according to the Singapore Tourism Board. Singapore has become a dynamic entry point for Indian cruise ship passengers.

“We chose to go on a cruise because we could visit three countries in one short trip,” said Maini. The family spent about $7,700, which Maini described as expensive but worth the cost, mentioned the NDTV report.

ALSO READ: India Seeks Recognition of Ayurveda in Singapore As Traditional Medicine

The expenditure is part of the 777.3 billion rupees ($12 billion) that Euromonitor International has predicted to be the amount that the middle-class Indians will shell out on overseas leisure travel this year. The research company further said that the market is expanding about 10 percent annually and is expected to eclipse 1 trillion rupees by 2020.

The Changi Airport Group, which manages Singapore’s international airport have stated that India is growing the fastest among the city-state’s top 10 inbound passenger markets. Even though the Middle East and France are the most preferred overseas destinations for Indians, Singapore is on the verge of registering a 59 percent jump in arrivals from India from 2015 to 2020, according to Euromonitor.

India has even outperformed china by 3 percentage points this year, as the number of arrivals from the country increased 15 percent in the first five months of this year in comparison with the year earlier. A lot of tourists come particularly to join a cruise.

Fly-Cruise Tourism

Fly cruise tourism has also become a trend among Indian tourists.

The number of Indian passengers on Royal Caribbean ships jumped 149 percent so far this year, compared with the same period last year. This includes the peak summer school holiday period that runs in India from May to June, said Sean Treacy, the company’s Asia Pacific managing director.

“Singapore is a regional-hub port which is near many attractive Southeast Asian cruise destinations in Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam,” Treacy said. “Voyages from Singapore offer Indian tourists the convenience of visiting multiple destinations across different countries on a single trip while unpacking only once,” he said.

ALSO READ: Singapore Tourism Board planning to attract Tamil Movie producers to shoot their Movies in that Country

The number of cruise passengers from India leaving via Singapore has been increasing by least 10 percent a year annually, said Michael Goh, senior vice president of international sales for Genting Cruise Lines.

“Perceptions of cruising among Indian travelers are fast-changing,” Goh said.

Local Touch

Royal Caribbean is adding more cruises for India’s summer school holidays, Treacy said.

The cruise operators offer vegetarian meals, local cuisine and special events reflecting the culture and local traditions that appeal to South Asian guests.

“More Bollywood music may be played at the pool or disco parties, and more jewelry gift sets, which are popular with Indians, may be procured for sailings that host a higher number of them on board,” Royal Caribbean’s Treacy said.

Mani’s overseas holiday has given him a travel bug. “Singapore was good, but the cruise was better,” Maini said, who’s now saving for a cruise from Barcelona.

-prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter: goel_samiksha

 

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After Donald Trump’s Anti-immigrant policies, Singapore is next to shut down Indian Techies

Inter-racial couples are subject to constant inspection and Singaporean students of Indian descent have complained of being victims of racism.

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Singapore, Wikimedia

April 13, 2017: Not only Trump’s America vouches for Anti-immigrant policies, an Island nation has been clamping down on Indian tech workers as part of its efforts to make sure corporations give locals a fair chance and to address concerns about overpopulation. Singapore having a population of 5.4 million people and a manpower of which nearly 40% constitutes nonresidents,  has been ramping up measures to ensure that firms have a “Singapore core.”

Officials have remarked that immigrant workers tend to be more frequent in certain industries, including food-and-beverage and technology. Although Singapore hasn’t made any declarations singling out Indian workers or firms, India’s IT trade industry body says it’s seen a definite change in the visa regime.

Officials have remarked that immigrant workers tend to be more frequent in certain industries, including food-and-beverage and technology. Although Singapore hasn’t made any declarations singling out Indian workers or firms, India’s IT trade industry body says it’s seen a definite change in the visa regime.

“They realized that the total number of people they have… far exceed the optimal level [the country can accommodate],” Gagan Sabharwal, director of global trade development at Nasscom, told Quartz.

“That’s when they started shutting the tap down by making it more expensive, making it more cumbersome for companies.”

Nasscom, the National Association of Software and Services Companies, has noted a decline in visas over many years but says things have become individually tough since last year.

In the beginning, Sabharwal states, Singapore started raising salaries required for foreign workers every six months or so by more than 10%. However, promptly, he said, local workers began whining that they weren’t getting paid as generously as their foreign counterparts.

The previous month, Singapore raised the minimum salary that a firm has to pay a local worker in order to count them as a full-time local employee while estimating how many foreign workers it is allowed to hire.

Singaporean officials are also reportedly asking for information in relation to work-permit applications for Indian tech workers that the firms believe is contradictory to a 2005 economic cooperation agreement between the two countries.

Quartz reached out to Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) with interrogations and will update if they counter.

Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower also necessitates that the companies must provide it with the relevant information on the number of applications submitted by Singaporeans, such as, whether the Singaporeans were interviewed for a vacancy, and the firm’s existing share of Singaporeans in professional, managerial, and executive positions.

In 2016, there were more than 300 applications pending for foreign employment passes after 100 firms came under extra scrutiny for not giving Singaporeans a fair chance.

Work-permit processes have stiffened lately since Singapore affirmed the Fair Consideration Framework, a slew of rules in place since October 2015 to make sure employers really are considering Singaporeans for vacancies. It requires for the company with over 25 workforces to advertise an opening for two weeks before applying for an employment pass for an international worker to fill that space.

“All Indian companies have received communication on fair consideration, which basically means hiring local people,” Nasscom president R. Chandrasekhar told Times of India.

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The total population of Indian techies in Singapore has desiccated to under 10,000, NDTV reported.

“Since about last summer, the approval rates have actually fallen drastically. Most companies are only getting a trickle through,” tells Sabharwal of Nasscom.

Of course, it’s not just Singapore that’s shutting the door on Indian techies, Sabharwal says. The UK, Canada, and the US—the three countries that account for the mainstream of India’s software export revenue—all have made it harder for Indians to drift to each of those locations.

Each of these mentioned places poses a unique problem further than the legal woes: For instance, a resurrection of white supremacist organizations nationwide and xenophobic political rhetoric have fueled hate crimes in the US. While such acts of violence are unheard of in Singapore, nevertheless an unwelcoming sentiment toward Indians has been pervading the Asian country too.

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The city-state—where nearly 10% of the citizens are of Indian heritage and Tamil is an official language—has seen discrimination against prospective home renters of Indian-origin. Inter-racial couples are subject to constant inspection and Singaporean students of Indian descent have complained of being victims of racism. Meanwhile, a new political party, SingFirst, says the city-state needs to focus on “growing our own timber,” when it comes to the workforce, and be less reliant on foreign labor.

Local hiring is also easier said than done, according to Sabharwal, who says it is difficult to find inhabitants to fill positions. He added that companies need to make more of an effort on providing skills training—or be prepared to move operations out.

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Singapore’s home minister, himself of Indian origin, has notified that the city-state must be on guard against populism that could grind ethnic divisions.

The new effort to promote local hiring is also at odds with how Singapore has billed itself over the last half century, as an attractive destination for the globe-trotting highly skilled worker.

– Prepared by Naina Mishra of Newsgram, Twitter: Nainamishr94