Modi meets US Defence Secretary, visits Indian naval ship

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Singapore–┬áIndian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met US Defence Secretary James Mattis on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue and went on board an Indian Navy ship at a naval base here on Saturday, the concluding day of his three-nation tour of southeast Asia, before departing for India.

Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted that the focus of conversation with Mattis was on the region in the context of Modi’s Thursday keynote address at the Shangri-La Dialogue.

In his speech, Modi said that India’s vision for the Indo-Pacific region is that of a free, open and inclusive region that embraces all in a common pursuit of progress and prosperity.

He also said that India’s global strategic partnership with the US has overcome the hesitations of history and “continues to deepen across the extraordinary breadth of our relationship”.

“It has assumed new significance in the changing world. And, an important pillar of this partnership is our shared vision of an open, stable, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific region,” he said.

The three-day Shangri-La Dialogue that commenced on Thursday is a Track I annual inter-governmental security forum organised by the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) think tank.

Modi started his engagements on Saturday with a meeting with Singapore Emeritus Senior Minister and former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong.

“Starting the day meeting with a veteran leader and an advocate of deeper India-Singapore engagement!,” Kumar said in a separate tweet.

Following the meeting, the two leaders unveiled a plaque to pay tribute at the immersion site of Mahatma Gandhi’s ashes at Clifford Pier in the city state.

The Indian Prime Minister then visited the National Orchid Museum here where an orchid was named after him — Dendrobrium Narendra Modi.

“A strong and robust tropical orchid which produces upright inflorescences up to 38 cm long with 14-20 well-arranged flowers,” spokesperson Kumar said.

Modi also visited the Mariamman Temple, which is the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore built in 1827, dedicated to Goddess Mariamman.

Following the visit to the temple, Modi, accompanied by Singapore Culture Minister Grace Yien, visited the Chulia mosque which was built by Chulia Muslim merchants from India’s Coromandal coast under the leadership of Anser Sahib.

“Demonstrating the age-old people-to-people contact between our two countries,” Kumar said in a separate tweet.

Modi and Yien together also visited the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum.

Singapore is home to around 800,000 people of Indian origin.

Modi and Yien then visited the Indian Heritage Centre where the Prime Minister unveiled the Kala Sangam, a permanent platform established by the Indian High Commission here and the Heritage Centre to bring Indian artisans to Singapore to demonstrate their craft.

Modi also went on board a visiting Indian naval ship INS Satpura at the Changi Naval Base here. “On board INS Satpura. It is always a pleasure and an honour to interact with our sailors and officers,” he tweeted. (IANS)



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