Singapore, Apr 13 (PTI) India and Singapore are working on the bilateral use of online payment, but there is a long way to go for the two countries to link their economies and smart cities digitally, Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said today.

Speaking at the HT MintAsia Leadership Summit here, Tharman urged India to expand its air links with East Asia.

“(Air connectivity) is how a lot of growth is spurred. Because it’s not just about the number of people you carry, it’s the fact that they are also coming with business, with investments,” he said.

Tharman said there were opportunities in the areas of digital innovation and smart cities because of what is happening in India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

“We have within ASEAN a strategy now of developing more smart cities and linking them up in a network. This is one of the initiatives of Singapore as a chair of ASEAN this year,” Channel News Asia quoted Tharman as saying.

He said India had embarked on its own strategy of developing smart cities.

Tharman praised the tie-up between Singapore’s NETS and India’s National Payments Corporation to allow cross-border use of payment solutions in India and Singapore.

Singapore and India are working on bilateral use of online payment using National Electronic System and using system such as Rupay and Singapore Network For Electronic Transfers (NETS) in both countries, he said.

“But there is a long way to go to link our economies and link up our smart cities digitally,” Tharman said.

“Make in India has to be make in India for the world and India. It has to be an external orientation because of those supply side benefits of constant learning that come with making for the world and having the world make with you,” he said.

“We will all gain from this. This will be how, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi says, we use trade, investments, connectivity to lift up all our peoples,” he said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.