Singapore, which has drawn a roadmap to expand economic co-operation with India, has identified healthcare and education as two areas for widening its presence in India.

“Healthcare, particularly hospital management, would be a thrust area for co-operation besides education,” Singapore Economic Development Board’s Managing Director Beh Swan Gin told reporters here today.

Singapore which spends four per cent of its GDP on healthcare has tremendous experience in hospital management and can help India in improving healthcare delivery in urban areas, he said.

Though it would not look at primary healthcare centres as that requires a different approach and Singapore could offer its expertise on hospital management and the like as India already has a vast pool of doctors, he said.

On education, of course, it would not be in areas like IITs and other premier institutions but co-operation could be more on graduate training programmes, Mr. Gin said.

Several Indian IT companies like TCS, Infosys, Wipro, Mahindra Satyam and HCL, among others, have already set up their shop in Singapore, he said.

TCS’ world class data centre set up at a cost of US $ 180 million in Singapore would result in more companies routing and hosting their data in the island republic, he added.

Singapore which attracts sizeable foreign investments could be a major destination for Indian companies in financial services, electronics hardware, high-tech engineering and chemicals, Mr. Gin said.

Though investments from Indian companies were small compared to many other developed countries, an increasing number of Indian companies are now considering Singapore as an attractive investment destination as it was a major gateway for tapping developed countries’ markets, he said.

Lately, a lot of investments were taking place in the biomedical sector in Singapore and this opened up opportunities for Indian pharma and biotech companies which have attained global recognition.

Singapore is currently India’s largest trading and investment partner in the ASEAN region. It is also India’s second largest inward investor country in 2008 with cumulative investments of US $ 6.3 billion since April 2000.

Both countries enjoy preferential treatment for sectors such as business distribution, education, environmental and transportation services.

Trade between the two countries have more than tripled in the last five years, particularly after the signing of the comprehensive economic co-operation agreement in August 2005.


Singapore: the best of East and WestSeptember 14, 2009