Singapore, India to strengthen ICT and trade ties

Singapore and India will strengthen their links in information and communications technologies (ICT) as part of a broad economic agreement between the two countries.

George Yeo, Singapore’s minister for trade and industry, and Arun Jaitley, India’s minister for commerce and industry, signed a declaration of intent Tuesday to conclude a Comprehensive Economic Co-operation Agreement (CECA) between the two countries.

The signing follows the completion of a report by a joint study group (JSG) which detailed the areas where the two countries could complement one another, ICT being an important sector, according to Singapore’s ministry of trade and industry (MTI).

“The JSG recognized there is potential for strong synergies between Indian and Singapore business in the IT and ITES (IT-enabled services) sectors,” the report said. “India is especially strong in software development, and is moving up the value chain into product development and new sectors of growth such as chip design and embedded systems. Singapore has strengths in manufacturing, product development, marketing and branding.”

The JSG identified several areas where the countries complement one another, including:

– disaster recovery/business continuity centres using Singapore’s stable and reliable infrastructure

– business process and IT outsourcing, a high-growth market where a seamless India-Singapore outsourcing model will prove attractive to customers

– design, manufacture and distribution of products with embedded software, which has already borne fruit in the collaboration for the handheld Simputer personal computer

– embedded software, where Indian expertise in software development is complemented by Singapore’s chip manufacturing capability

– e-governance, where Singapore’s experience in providing online applications for use internally and to the public can be applied to the many Indian states seeking to improve the efficiency of government procedures.

The two countries hope to sign the full agreement within 12 to 18 months, MTI said.