Highlights include Interviews with Singapore's top diplomats, business leaders and thinkers. In the inaugural issue, read about:

PIyush gupta:
opportunities that lie ahead

Piyush Gupta CEO of DBS Bank Group talks about the vibrant atmosphere for investment and furthering business interests for the two regions. Under his charge, DBS Bank is now licensed to start a wholly owned subsidiary in India. He is bullish about the incredible opportunities opening up for the banking industry with the heightened engagement between India and Singapore as well as India and ASEAN to their mutual benefit.

“It’s quite clear that India has technology and depth and talent today, which are unsurpassed. The talent is deep and it is very broad – it addresses all the new digital technologies that are prevalent in the world today.

kishore mahbubani:
At a new crossroads

Kishore Mahbubani is one of Singapore’s top academicians and a former diplomat. Shikhar spoke to him in December 2017 before he stepped down as Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the end of the year. Ever the iconoclast, Mahbubani does not shrink from providing his personal (and often provocative) views and observations about growing up in Singapore, the island’s relationship with India and the strength of Asia’s growth in the near future.

“…in the most competitive human laboratory in the world (US), the Indian community is the most successful community in terms of per capita income. So, if Indians in India can achieve 25% of the per capita income of these Indians in America, India would have the world’s largest economy.”

ong keng yong:
india & asean and the singapore chair factor in 2018

He speaks from a unique perspective. H.E. Ong Keng Yong is currently the Executive Deputy Chairman of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and concurrently Ambassador-at-Large at the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs and he has also served as Secretary-General of ASEAN Secretariat. In the light of the celebration of 25 years of ASEAN-India relations he opens up to Shikar about how it is a time of deep reflection and renewed engagement on ASEAN-India prospects as dialogue partners of the future in these challenging times.

“I think it’s a good thing to have another big country in the region to be more actively engaged in the world of Asia. We want India to be there. We want the Indian Ocean to be a part of the dialogue and engagement. The more we talk about Indo-Pacific the more we see the value of ASEAN.”

manohar khiatani:
What ascendas learnt in india

The Deputy Group CEO of Ascendas-Singbridge shares how the “digitalisation of India” is creating huge waves of opportunities with the giant Singapore-based developer expanding its footprint to include development of Andhra Pradesh new capital Amaravati and expansion into the Industrial Facilities & Logistics Sector. The company has a long history in India. It conceptualised India’s first work-live-play IT park concept with International Tech Park Bangalore (ITPB) in 1992. Opened in 1998, ITPB is the first IT Park in India.

“The recent implementation of the GST system, is expected to lead to a simplification of India’s tax regime… it is likely to result in a more efficient supply chain and lower production costs in the country. Through this, the ease of doing business in India will be enhanced, and by virtue of proximity, ASEAN businesses would find it increasingly attractive to commence operations in the country.”

k. kesavapany:
keeping active

The 81-year old retired diplomat notes that India’s policies are propelling the country in several directions. He also pays tribute to other diaspora giants and gives direct advice about getting involved with India. He has worn many hats during his career. It includes stints in the UN and being the the first elected Chairman of the General Council of the WTO. He remains active as a present Governor on the Board of the Singapore International Foundation.

“We have always been very positive about India. There was a time when the late PM Lee Kuan Yew used to be very frustrated with the slow pace of growth so he used to say ”Wake up India! Wake up!” Now India has woken up and there is this great urge to take advantage of what is happening… Singapore has been described as the best domestic airport of India. You have 400 flights per week – that’s a huge number of flights.”

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