Modi, who received Singapore's Emeritus Senior Minister (ESM) Goh Chok Tong, apprised him of the various initiatives taken by his government for development of smart cities and urban centres, improving the ease of doing business and cleaning of rivers.

Modi said India's strength in terms of 3Ds - Demographic Dividend, Democracy and Demand (large domestic market) - would enable it to emerge as a global manufacturer.

He said it would be essential to enter into partnerships with the international community to access the necessary funding and expertise for the success of initiatives.

"In this context, the Prime Minister conveyed India's keen desire to partner with Singapore. The ESM suggested that both sides should work for entering into a strategic economic partnership," said a statement from the Prime Minister's Office.

Goh was accompanied by Minister in the Singapore Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade and Industry S Iswaran and Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee.

The statement said Modi recalled his long personal association with Tong.

He also recalled Tong's special contribution to the development of bilateral relations. Goh congratulated Modi on his emphatic victory in the general elections and "for presenting an ambitious vision of India's economic and social transformation".

"He encouraged the Prime Minister to work towards developing India as a global manufacturer through a combination of skill development, standard setting and access to the global market," the statement said.

It said the Singapore leader called upon India to engage more proactively with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership initiative.

He also emphasised that a prosperous India was critical for the peace and prosperity of the entire Asian region.

Modi, who was invited to visit Singapore, said he looked forward to the visit at an early convenient date.

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