The close ties between India and Singapore have a history rooted in strong commercial, cultural and people-to-people links. India’s connection with Singapore dates back to the Cholas. The more modern relationship is attributed to Sir Stamford Raffles who, in 1819, established a trading station in Singapore on the route of the Straits of Malacca which became a colony under British India, governed from Kolkata (1830-1867). The colonial connection is reflected in a similarity of institutions and practices, usage of English and the presence of a large Indian community. India was one of the first countries to recognize Singapore in 1965.

Following the conclusion of Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) of 2005, this robust relationship was elevated to a Strategic Partnership in 2015


Framework of the Bilateral Relationship

  • India-Singapore relations are based on shared values and approaches, economic opportunities and convergence of interests on key issues. Political engagement is regular. Defence relations are particularly strong.
  • Economic and technological ties are extensive and growing.
  • Cultural and human links are very vibrant. There are more than 20 regular bilateral mechanisms, dialogues and exercises.
  • There is great convergence on a broad range of international issues and both are members of a number of forums, including East Asia Summit, G20, Commonwealth, IORA (Indian Ocean Rim Association) and IONS (Indian Ocean Naval Symposium)


Defence and Security Cooperation

  • India and Singapore have a longstanding and comprehensive partnership, which includes,
    • Annual Ministerial and Secretary level dialogues; Staff level talks between three wings of Armed forces;
    • training of Singapore Army and Air force in India (10th edition in 2019) every year;
    • annual exercises including India’s longest uninterrupted naval exercise with any other country (26th edition in 2019); ship visits from Navy and Coast Guard
  • Singapore’s participates in IONS and multilateral Exercise MILAN hosted by Indian Navy.
  • Singapore’s membership of IORA and India’s membership of ADDM+ (ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting – Plus) provides platform for both countries to coordinate positions on regional issues of mutual concern.
  • New developments include the inaugural Trilateral Maritime Exercise between India, Singapore and Thailand (SITMEX), announced by PM Modi in his Keynote address at the 2018 Shangri La Dialogue in September 2019 in Andaman Sea with the intention to conduct it annual at alternative locations
  • India and Singapore share similar concerns about the challenges posed by terrorism and extremism and have found it mutually beneficial to evolve a broad framework of security cooperation.


Science & Technology Cooperation

  • ISRO launched Singapore’s indigenously built micro-satellites since 2011.
  • MOUs have been signed in areas of artificial intelligence, machine learning, cognitive computing and big data analytics to improve healthcare, cybersecurity, automation, mobility, smart energy systems and e-governance


Trade, Economic and Development Cooperation

  • Major areas of cooperation have been (i) Scale up Trade & Investment; (ii) Speed up Connectivity; (iii) Smart Cities & Urban Rejuvenation; (iv) Skill development; and (v) State focus.
  • Singapore is India’s largest trade partner in ASEAN. It is the leading source of Foreign Direct Investment, among the largest sources of External Commercial Borrowings and Foreign Portfolio Investment
  • Bilateral trade expanded after the conclusion of CECA from USD 6.7 billion in FY 2004-05 to USD 27.85 billion in 2018-19.
  • . In the fiscal 2019-20, total inflow until September 2019 was USD 8.01 billion while Cumulative FDI from Singapore into India (April 2000- September 2019) is USD 91.02 billion, accounting for 20% of total inflows into India
  • About 9000 Indian companies are registered in Singapore. 6 PSUs, 9 banks, India Tourism, CII, FICCI, Air India, Jet Airways have their offices in Singapore. More than 440 companies from Singapore are registered in India.
  • Singapore is now directly connected to 15 Indian cities by 8 airlines with more than 500 weekly flights both ways.
  • India the third largest source in tourism for Singapore.
  • Singaporean companies continue to participate in a number of smart city, urban planning, logistics and infrastructure projects. Singapore is working with Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Maharashtra in preparing Master Plans for townships.
  • Singapore is working with the Central and state Governments as well as Government organisations to establish skill development centres in various sectors
  • FinTech & Innovation: Cooperation in the areas of technology, innovation, fintech and startups have grown. In 2019. A Pilot demo of BHIM UPI QR based payments was launched in Singapore on 13 November during the 2019 Fintech Festival


Cultural Cooperation

  • Cultural exchanges include performing arts, theatre, museum exchanges, art, languages, and youth exchanges
  • Regional and community based organizations are also active in promoting language teaching, yoga and arts.


Indian Community

  • Ethnic Indians constitute about 9.1 % or around 3.5 lakhs of the resident population of 3.9 million in Singapore.
  • In addition, among the 1.6 million foreigners residing in Singapore, about 21 % or around 3.5 lakhs are Indian expatriates holding Indian passports, mostly serving in financial services, IT, students, construction and marine sectors.
  • Singapore has the highest concentration of IIT and IIM alumni in any one city outside India.
  • There are about 1 lakh Indian migrant workers in Singapore. Singapore, however does not feature in the ECR category.
  • Tamil is one of the four official languages of Singapore.
  • Hindi, Gujarati, Urdu, Bengali and Punjabi are also taught in schools. Welfare and well-being of the Indian nationals, including Indian workers feature prominently in consular responsibilities of the Mission.