A statement released by the Foreign Ministry last night said that Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to convey his best wishes and to express confidence that "India will continue to achieve new heights" under his (Modi) government's "able leadership". Singapore's unique bond with India is underpinned by decades of shared history, culture and kinship," Loong said.

He also noted that Singapore is one of India's top investors and trading partners, and the countries share strong defence ties.

With the two countries 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations coming up next year, Loong said he hopes "it will be a fitting time for us to explore new pathways of cooperation and elevate our ties to a higher level".

In his letter to President Pranab Mukherjee, Singapore President Tony Tan Keng Yam called India a "cherished friend of Singapore".

"Our excellent state of relations is manifested in substantive collaboration in many fields, and I am, in this regard, greatly heartened that we are looking to further expand our cooperation", he said.

"It is my sincere hope that our longstanding friendship will continue to blossom for the mutual and lasting benefit of our people," he added.

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