Modi to visit Indonesia, Singapore

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New Delhi, May 24 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi will go on state visits to Indonesia and Singapore from May 29 to June 2 during the course of which he will engage with the leadership of the two southeast Asian nations, it was announced here on Thursday.

This will be Modi’s first official visit to Indonesia and second to Singapore.

He had been to Singapore in March 2015 to attend the state funeral of the city state’s first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and then again in November the same year for his first official visit.

Briefing the media here, Preeti Saran, Secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs, said that Modi’s visits reflect India’s deepening relationship with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) region within the framework of New Delhi’s Act East Policy and also in terms of security in the Indo-Pacific region.

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While Indonesia hosts the Asean Secretariat, Singapore is the current Chair of the regional bloc.

Giving details of Modi’s programme, Saran said that he will reach Indonesia on May 29 and and hold a summit with the country’s President Joko Widodo the next day in Jakarta.

The two leaders will then inaugurate a kite festival jointly organised by Museum Layang Layang of Jakarta and the Kite Museum of Ahmedabad.

Modi will also address a CEOs forum and the Indian community in the southeast Asia’s largest nation. There are around 100,000 people of Indian origin and around 7,000 NRIs in Indonesia.

Saran said that Indonesia is India’s largest trading partner within the Asean with bilateral trade standing at around $18 billion. “Around 250,000 jobs have been created by Indian companies in Indonesia,” she said.

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From Indonesia, Modi will reach Singapore on May 31 and will begin his engagements by visiting an India-Singapore Enterprise and Innovation Exhibition.

He will then participate in a business and community event where he will talk about India’s economic engagement with Asean. Modi will also participate in a CEOs Round Table with the top 20 CEOs of Singapore.

On June 1, Modi will call on Singapore President Halimah Yacob and then hold a summit with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. He will also visit Nanyang Technological University, regarded as the top technological university in Asia and the 11th best in the world.

Later, he will deliver the keynote address at the Shangri-La Dialogue, becoming the first Indian Prime Minister to do do in the Track I annual inter-governmental security forum.

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On June 2, he will unveil a plaque of Mahatma Gandhi and visit some cultural sites. Thereafter, he will visit the Indian Heritage Centre.

Before departure for India, Modi will go to the Changi naval base.

Saran called Singapore an important partner for India in terms of security, economy and technology. There are around 8,000 Indian companies registered in the city state and it is also home to around 800,000 people of Indian origin.

–IANS

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