During his visit to Gujarat last week, Singapore High Commissioner Simon Wong spoke to Leena Misra and Avinash Nair on investment and relations with India.
What has been the impact of your prime minister’s remark about the Indian parliament in February?
After what my prime minister said in (the Singapore) Parliament, there were clarifications from both sides. From the Indian side, they are satisfied with what we clarified. Basically, what my prime minister had in mind was that our forefathers have set very high standard…of understanding different races, understanding of not being corrupt. It was specifically to deal with one MP who told a lie in Parliament. I think the episode is behind us right now. Following that (External Affairs Minister) S Jaishankar visited Singapore and the two PMs met on the sidelines of G-20.
What was your meeting at the BJP HQ recently about?
I think because of the 42nd foundation day of the BJP, the party’s central leadership decided to engage with foreign diplomats based in Delhi. It wanted to explain policy to the wider diplomatic community. So 14 of us were chosen as the first batch to meet JP Nadda. I think the BJP’s purpose was that they wanted to thank some of these countries for the evacuation of Indian students from Ukraine. For Singapore, I can say it was because it is one important part of ASEAN, which is now closely working with the government and also the party.
For Singapore, which sectors in India are the most attractive for investment?
We are looking at green energy, data storage centres, fintech, investing in current and future unicorns. A new area we are interested is space technology. We have held talks with ISRO. We are interested in the commercial aspects of space and satellite technologies because we feel there must be an integration of evidence-based climate change data that can only be obtained with nano satellite tech.
Which are the best states to invest in India?
We have invested in all southern states, mainly because of natural ties. It all boils down to the state, how friendly they are. The new state coming up is Gujarat. We are also looking at northern states like Haryana. The up and coming one is UP. Beyond this, there are north-eastern states. But always on our mind is whether the government in a state will continue or not. Because a change in government can change the policies as we have experienced in Andhra Pradesh.