Notwithstanding the COVID-19 pandemic, trade between India and Singapore is likely to touch USD 21 billion in financial year 2020-21, India''s High Commissioner to Singapore P Kumaran has said.
"Trade between India and Singapore is a little over USD 19 billion," said the High Commissioner.
"It is likely to be around USD 21 billion when the full data for the financial year 2020-21 is available. From April 2019 to March 2020, it was USD 23 billion," the envoy was quoted as saying in a Friday weekly on Indian affairs, tabla!
Kumaran further said that "It is very encouraging despite the pandemic. Good performances by both sides under extremely stressful circumstances. It shows that we need each other and have to continue to support each other."
Meanwhile, Singapore has topped the list of foreign investment generators, accounting for 29 per cent of the record USD 81.72 billion foreign direct investment India received during the financial year 2020-21.
The United States was the second FDI generator at 23 per cent and Mauritius third at 9 per cent.
Separately, Kumaran said nearly 90,000 people from Singapore have taken the Vande Bharat Mission (repatriation) flights to India since they were started by the Indian government on May 7, last year.
"On an average, currently we do about 70 flights a month," he said.
He further noted that "we also calibrate the number of flights depending on the load. To optimise the load, the carriers do multiple destinations in India. For instance, we combine Chennai and Mumbai or Delhi. So, two destinations get connected."
However, the number of people taking the Vande Bharat flights have considerably reduced in recent weeks, according to Kumaran.
Each flight has a capacity of 180 to 200 and earlier it used to be 90 per cent occupancy going into India and 30 per cent from India. Now it is half of that. "People don''t want to go because (COVID-19) cases are high in India. Also, not many re-entry permits are being issued by the Singapore government," Kumaran said.
"Only people who have urgent needs want to go. Nobody wants to take more risks than necessary," he said in an interview with the weekly.