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The crucial need for improving air connectivity between Singapore and India and the developmental impact it will have on Singapore.

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Introduction

Introduction This essay will look at the crucial need for improving air connectivity between Singapore and India and on the developmental impact it will have on Singapore. The focus of the essay will be on underlining Singapore's vital need for improved air connectivity and the potential benefits Singapore stands to gain, especially in the area of tourism and commerce. Due to Singapore's reliance on her geo-strategic location, tourism and commerce, it must be remembered that the level of air connectivity and the success of the tourism industry for Singapore are intrinsically linked. "Air transport and Tourism have a symbiotic relationship"1 based on interdependence. Furthermore, Singapore is an island and land accessibility exists only between Singapore and Malaysia. Unlike India, Singapore is a country with barely any natural resources. She is highly dependent on people as her main natural resource, and is thus heavily reliant on service related industries such as tourism for her economic survival. In the Indian case, tourism is an industry with huge untapped potential, while for Singapore, keeping pace with the regional and global tourism industry is a matter of survival because tourism constitutes a vital component of more than 10% of her Gross Domestic Product (GDP).2 Singapore's survival has always revolved around ports and with increasing competition from regional seaports she has to look at expanding the role of her airport in developing the country's economy over the coming years. The benefits and developmental impact of increasing air connectivity between Singapore and India: Expanding Indian middle class The benefits of improving air connectivity between Singapore and India are manifold. Firstly, the rapidly expanding middle-class of several hundred million in India has caught the travel bug. ...read more.

Middle

and SATS could work at a bilateral level with the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism of India. This has the potential to profit Singapore immensely because it might allow Singapore to penetrate not just in terms of flights but also in terms of ancillary services such as catering, baggage handling and ground support and maintenance. A possible penetration and capture of economic potential could occur just like the way the Singapore cleaning firm Onyx does contractual cleaning and waste disposal work in Chennai.12 The situation is especially relevant now more than ever because of increased liberalisation. Development of bilateral relations to foster trade and commerce During Prime Minister Goh's visit, India and Singapore signed A Declaration of Intent on the India-Singapore Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA). One of the main components of the agreement would be a more liberal air services agreement, and open skies for charter flights. Other components were a programme of economic cooperation, including an India-Singapore fund with a target of US$1 billion to address investment opportunities in India, and a second India Centre in Singapore and tourism cooperation.13 Furthermore, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee recently announced an 'open skies' arrangement with the ten-member ASEAN to allow designated airlines from the regional grouping to run daily flights to India creating a much greater niche and easier access to SIA.14 There will also be synergy created between both countries and national airlines. Singapore has Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with several countries and this will serve as a platform to foster continued political and social relations between India and Singapore.15 Indian preconception of Singapore as an electronics haven and the IT element Another major reason why Singapore would benefit with increased air connectivity with India would be because of the Indians' preconception of Singapore as an electronics haven. ...read more.

Conclusion

rest of the region rather than being passed over altogether.20 This is especially important as the Asian financial crisis of 1997 illustrated. Because of the declining value of several Asian countries currencies relative to the currencies of European countries and others it became more affordable and cost effective for several tourists to holiday in these countries compared to Singapore because the relative currency depreciation of the Singapore dollar was not as significant. In order to achieve this she has to work closely with the tourism sectors of the other Southeast Asian countries and beyond. Cultural linkages and National identity Improved air connectivity in general also serves the twofold purpose of enhancing cultural linkages and acting as a nation-building symbol that serves as an advertising mechanism for the country. As flag carriers, airlines are taken to represent their nations and thus, they evoke a sentiment of national awareness and cohesion and become important symbols of nationalism.21 One has to only ponder the role of the 'Singapore Girl' in order to verify this effect and its efficacy in promoting tourism and engendering national consciousness. Furthermore, Singapore has a big Indian community and increasing air connectivity could enhance the traditions and customs and heritages of non-resident Indians (NRIs) in Singapore besides fostering closer ties with the NRIs and Indians in India.22 It also enables more NRIs in Singapore to possibly discover or gain more knowledge of their roots due to increased cultural exchange and opportunity to travel. Conclusion In conclusion it can be said that there are several political, economic and social developmental benefits for Singapore in increasing air connectivity between Singapore and India. Singapore has to work at overcoming the obstacles to improved air connectivity with India in order to ensure her economic sustenance and survival in the rapidly changing global environment. ...read more.

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