Over the years, India and Singapore have cultivated multi-faceted bilateral relations, hinging upon mutual interests in trade, fintech, innovation, and defence. In 2015, the two countries commemorated the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations with the signing of the India-Singapore Strategic Partnership (SP) during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s official visit to Singapore. 

India’s bilateral relations with Singapore have witnessed a strengthening in the backdrop of the pandemic. With the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic spreading across India, many countries across the world have pledged support to India in its fight against the virus. Singapore proved to be particularly significant in this aspect, given its position as an important trading and logistics hub. Through this unique positioning, the Indian High Commission in Singapore was able to access vital medical supplies such as oxygen tanks and cylinders. Further, Singapore has extended support through government agencies such as the Ministry of Trade and Industry and Enterprise, who have utilised their networks and databases to ensure that India was able to access the necessary supplies in the shortest possible time. In doing so, the Indian High Commission was able to procure items swiftly from Australia and other Asian countries, to meet India’s urgent public health concerns. 

Further, Singapore’s support to India includes the efforts of Singapore’s government-linked companies who have donated crucial equipment. Notably, Temasek Foundation donated 8,000 oxygen concentrators, 100 oxygen cylinders, 50,000 pulse oximeters, over 100 BiPAPs, and 200 ventilators to India. Similarly, DBS donated three oxygen tanks and Sea Group gave 750 oxygen cylinders, while Singapore Exchange donated money through Red Cross Singapore. In addition, 255 oxygen cylinders were sent via Republic of Singapore Air Force C-130 planes to India at the end of April. 

Singapore’s solidarity with India during its time of need is laudable. It also highlights the role played by India in forging such strong relations. Last year, when a number of countries closed down to the spread of the virus, many nations stopped exports to Singapore in order to meet their domestic needs. However, India continued to export to Singapore thus ensuring that basic good such as vegetables and rice were made available to the latter. A year later, as Singapore steps up to support India – the power of global partnerships is reinforced. 

This blog has been authored by Rai Sengupta.