Speeches Economic & Commercial




(Tuesday, 17 May 2022)


I am delighted to participate in Incredible India Reconnect 2022 – a virtual Roadshow for the Singapore Travel Market.

  1. We have here today senior representatives of the key Ministries in the Government of India - Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Ministry of Civil Aviation, apart from the High Commission of India in Singapore.
  1. Most importantly, we have participation from the Singapore tourism industry as well as representatives from the Indian travel and tourism industry. I am particularly delighted that we will be hearing from Singaporean colleagues who have first hand experience of dealing with tourists interested in the Indian market.
  1. Any such event is always meaningful because India and Singapore share civilizational bonds and cultural and people-to-people relations spanning many centuries.
  1. The event is particularly relevant today because we are finally turning a corner after a couple of difficult years, during which connectivity had reduced, health risks were paramount and pandemic-related restrictions had made travel costly and difficult.
  1. India has fully resumed scheduled commercial international flights starting from March 27. The Government of India has also restored the e-visa system applicable to citizens of 156 countries including Singapore. At least six carriers are flying directly between Singapore and 15 cities in India. The Covid situation in both Singapore and India has significantly improved. Our connectivity is soon expected to match the levels seen before the Covid-19 pandemic.  In the case of India, the world’s biggest vaccination programme has delivered high vaccination rates across the country. The Indian tourism industry has used the difficult pandemic years to further reflect upon and improve the experience for global travellers, while ensuring health and safety. Incredible India is ready to welcome travellers from Singapore. 
  1. India has become a premier multi-product tourism destination globally. In 2019, 11 million tourists visited India. The potential for further growth is huge, given the diversity of tourism destinations and offerings, the rapid upgradation in the last few years in transport and tourism infrastructure, digitalisation, and the potential for foreign investors to invest in the tourism and hospitality sector in India. Special attention is also being paid by the tourism industry to offer innovative products such as sustainable tourism, rural tourism, gastronomic tourism etc.
  1. Singapore has traditionally been one of the important source markets for inbound tourists from the ASEAN region. During 2019, India recorded around 190,000 Foreign Tourist Arrivals from Singapore, making it one of the top 15 sources of tourism for India.  India also happens to be one of the main source markets for inbound tourism to Singapore.  In 2019, around 1.42 million Indian tourists visited Singapore. In just the first three months in 2022, nearly 54,000 tourists have visited Singapore from India.
  1. Visas have been significantly liberalized over the past few years, with 21 categories of visas given by India with various sub-categories, including tourist visa, medical visa, business visa, conference visa, student and research visa, film visa, journalist visa, sports visa and intern visa.
  1. The stressful period of the past two years is a compelling driver for foreign tourists to look at India, which has always a unique and incredible destination, with one of the widest range of wellness tourism offerings in the world, seasoned by millennia of traditional knowledge.
  1. Our tourism Ministry colleagues have put together a programme to showcase India’s diversity – culture, flora and fauna, rituals, costumes, artworks, handicrafts, music, dance, the magic of cinema, festivals, but also adventure tourism, wellness tourism as well as tailored luxury offerings that will certainly appeal to the Singapore market. We are also hapy about the good progress made in developing a comprehensive tourism strategy for India, and look forward to its effective implementation in the coming years.
  1. I would like to reiterate the support of High Commission of India in Singapore to the efforts of the tourism and travel industry. We look forward to a meaningful session today.

          Thank you.




(19–21 May 2022)


Dr. Sudhansu, Secretary APEDA,

Shri BK Baruah, Assistant General Manager, APEDA,

The rest of the APEDA Team,

Ms. Audrey Tan, Global Markets Director (South Asia), Enterprise Singapore,

Exporters and Importers from India and Singapore,

Ladies & Gentlemen

Good morning & Namaskar!

It is heartening to note that after a long hiatus of almost two years we are able to meet in person for a buyer-seller meet to promote Indian fresh fruits, vegetables and other horticulture products in Singapore.  I would like to extend a very warm welcome to the Indian exporters delegation led by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) and our partners for this event - Singapore Advanced Produce Centre Development Pte Ltd (APC) and Enterprise Singapore.

As you all know, Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), a statutory body under India’s Ministry of Commerce, is an apex trade-promotion body which is mandated to develop and promote the export of fruits, vegetables and other horticultural products. APEDA has been undertaking a series of initiatives for the promotion of Indian agricultural produce globally.  Today’s Buyer-Seller Meet is a part of this series. I am happy that we have several interesting sustainable agricultural products on display today.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has again underlined the need for food security, as we witnessed how the food supply chains can be disrupted by both natural causes like the pandemic and compounded by export-restrictions imposed by countries due to the pandemic or due to war in another part of the world.  India has been fortunate in that its diverse climate ensures availability of all varieties of fresh fruits and vegetables for most part of the year.  India therefore ranks second in the production of fruits and vegetables in the world.  As per the National Horticulture Database, India produced 99.07 million metric tonnes of fruits and 191.77 million metric tonnes of vegetables in 2019-20. 

India is the largest producer of ginger and okra amongst vegetables and ranks second in the production of potatoes, onions, cauliflower, brinjal, cabbage, etc. Amongst fruits, India ranks first in production of bananas, papayas and mangoes.

Such a vast production base offers India significant opportunities for export. During 2020-21, India exported fruits and vegetables worth USD 1.34 billion, out of which fruits were worth USD 674 million and vegetables worth USD 668 million.

Grapes, Pomegranates, Mangoes, Bananas and Oranges account for most of India’s exports of fruits, while Onions, mixed Vegetables, Potatoes, Tomatoes, and Green Chilly mostly contribute to the vegetable export basket.

Policy Support

The Government of India has taken a number of policy measures to support the export of agricultural and processed food products.  In April 2021, the Government approved a PLI scheme for the food processing sector with an incentive outlay of USD 1.48 billion over a period of six years starting from FY-2022. The Krishi Udan scheme 2.0 proposes assistance and incentive for movement of agri-produce by air transport.

To boost growth of the agricultural economy, the Indian government released funds for establishment of custom hiring centres, farm machinery bank and high-tech hubs in different states.

The Indian food processing industry attracted a cumulative Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) equity inflow of about USD 15.02 billion between April 2000 and November 2021. 

India Singapore Relations


India and Singapore share a comitment to fostering economic growth with social inclusion, for the welfare of our people. Our strong economic partnership encompasses bilateral trade and investment in various sectors. 

Singapore is not just a leading economic partner of India, It is also the region’s hub for trade, investment, aviation and finance. Singapore is the leading source of Foreign Direct Investment into India. 

Driven by the momentum provided by the India-Singapore CECA, Singapore is today India’s 6th largest trade partner (2020-21), with a share of 3.2% of India’s overall trade.  It is India’s largest trading partner in ASEAN as well as the top export destination of India in ASEAN.

India and Singapore are part of the dynamic Asia Pacific Region. Amid the problems that the world faces today and the global challenges that we see ahead, our partnership is of great significance for us and our region.

It is especially pertinent that, amidst the COVID-19, we were able to help each other as trusted partners.  I am confident that this event will be the launchpad of many initiatives between India and Singapore in the area of agricultural trade, among other areas.

I thank Ms Audrey Tan and the ESG Team for their assistance in organising this Buyer-Seller Meet. 

I encourage the trade representatives present today to build on this good momentum and explore partnerships with each other, for mutual benefit.

Thank you.