3 March 2022

On 23 February 2022, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (“MTI”) announced that Singapore and India had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) on Cooperation in the Fields of Science, Technology, and Innovation at the inaugural session of the India-Singapore Technology Summit 2022 (“Summit”).

In his speech at the Summit, Singapore’s Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations S Iswaran recognised at the outset that the total bilateral trade in goods between Singapore and India has increased by approximately 35% in 2021 to S$26.8 billion, from S$19.8 billion in 2020. Noting that the countries already enjoy strong bilateral ties, the Minister explained that the MOU will encourage, develop and facilitate collaborative projects in fields of mutual interest.

While the MOU is expected to advance progress in research, innovation and technological development in a range of sectors, Minister Iswaran identified three particular sectors where the countries could leverage their combined resources.

  • Deeptech, including artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (“IoT”), the construction and built environment sector. Collaboration in this sector could lay the foundation for the building of smarter and more sustainable cities.
  • Cleantech, involving research and development that could impact the greening of the power and transportation sectors, particularly aviation and maritime transport.
  • Genome and bioinformatics research, a sector which is already being advanced in both Singapore and India.

India’s Personal Data Protection Bill, which will facilitate cross border data flows, is in the works. Cross border flows of data, such as from IoT sensors in buildings and cities to inform better urban planning, are crucial to the success of such initiatives.

Enterprise Singapore (“ESG”) and India’s Department of Science and Technology (“DST”) have also signed an Implementation Agreement to bring together corporates and start-ups from both countries to collaborate on developing new innovative technologies and solutions. DST and ESG will open at least one call for proposal annually to invite joint proposals by Singapore and Indian companies and funding will be provided for the final approved innovation projects.

Reference materials

The following materials can be found on the MTI website www.mti.gov.sg: