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General Essays

General Essays

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Published by Ganesh Babu
General essays for competitive exams
General essays for competitive exams

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Published by: Ganesh Babu on Oct 16, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Singapore is one of the smallest island city-States of Asia. It bears a Sanskritname. Singapore means the City of the Lion (Sing derives from the SanskritSinmah and Pore from Pura meaning city). Singapore is ancient in name only;otherwise it is a striking blend of the ancient and modern elements of culture andsociety. Transparency International has pronounced Singapore as the “corruption-free” State—a striking contrast to India that is counted among the most corruptcountries of the world. The first records of Singapore in Chinese texts date back to the 3rd century. It wasan outpost of the Sumatran Srivijaya Empire and had the Javanese name Temasek, which became a significant trading city, but later declined. Theremnants of old Temasek are no longer extant in Singapore but its archaeologicalevidence remains.In the 15th and 16th century, Singapore was in the Sultanate of Johore. During theMalay-Portugal wars in 1617, Singapore was burnt down by Portuguese troops. Thomas Stamford Raffles is recognized as the modern founder of Singapore. In1819, he, a British East India Company official, made a treaty with the Sultan of  Johore and established Singapore as a trading post and settlement, later tobecome a crown colony in 1867. It soon grew into an entreport town due to itsstrategic location on sea routes connecting Europe to China.During World War II, on February 15, 1942, the Japanese forces occupiedSingapore after the British surrender despite the latter’s numerical superiority. The Japanese renamed Singapore as Syonan-to (“Light of the South”) and ruled ituntil they got defeated in September 1945. In 1959, Singapore became a self-governing crown colony with Lee Kuan Yew from the People’s Action Party (PAP)as the first Prime Minister. In 1962, Singapore was admitted into the Federation of Malaysia but ideological conflict developed between the State and Federalgovernment in Kuala Lumpur. On August 7, 1965, Singapore was expelled fromthe Federation. On August 9, 1965, Singapore became and independent nation.Around 1970s, Singapore underwent immense economic development under theleadership of Lee Kuan Yew. It overcame problems of unemployment,infrastructure, housing, social stability and national defence. This elevatedSingapore to a developing and then developed nation.On November 26, 1990, Goh Chok Tong assumed the office of Prime Minister.Under his tenure the country tackled the 1997 Asian economic crisis, the SARSoutbreak in 2003, as well as terrorist threats posed by the Jemaah Islamiah (JI).Lee Hsien Loong, the eldest son of Lee Kuan Yew, became the third Prime Ministeron August 12, 2004, after securing the confidence of a majority of PAP-dominatedParliament.“Practices such as the ban on imports of chewing gum and heavy fines forlittering, spitting, and not flushing in public toilets have led some to labelSingapore a ‘nanny State’. National service in Singapore is mandatory for all malecitizens and male children of permanent residents. Even though it has not beenengaged in any military conflict, the Singapore Armed Forces maintain a 100,000-strong active force and 350,000-strong reserve force. Singapore has relatively
warm relations with Malaysia, especially since the recent changes of leadershipin both countries. However, disputes still exist over issues such as the sale of water and territorial claims over Pedra Branca.Singapore has played a significant part in India’s march to Independence. ManyIndian revolutionaries sought a haven here in their fight against the British Raj.Rash Bihari Bose, Netaji Subhash Bose, General Mohan Singh, K.P.K Menon,Lakshmi Sehgal of Rani Jhansi Brigade, all flocked to Singapore and carried theiranti-British activities. Netaji’s famous radio broadcast predicting the fall of theBritish Empire after the British surrender to the Japanese and the formation of theIndian National Army are all associated with Singapore. It was Padang, a part of Singapore, where Netaji first gave the Indian National Army (INA) its war cry of 
Chalo Dilli.
Since 1993, there has been a spurt of activity between India and Singapore, bothrecognizing each other’s importance and role in the South-East region of Asia. InFebruary 1993, the two countries signed an MOU for co-operation in the Arts,Archives and Heritage, renewable biannually. Under this agreement, severalcultural events have been organized, both in India and in Singapore.
The Hindu,
one of India’s leading English dailies, has a resident correspondent based inSingapore. Apart from government to government initiatives, the Singapore FineArts Society, Nrityalaya, Kalamandir, the Expatriate Indian Women’s Club andother similar societies actively propagate Indian culture. Indian films and musicare widely distributed in Singapore on a commercial basis, targeted at the Indian-origin community and resident NRIs. There is no regular educational exchangeprogramme between India and Singapore, though Indian students are studying onindividual initiative. Many of them enjoy scholarships offered by local institutions,including Singapore Airlines. The increasingly close relations between India and Singapore in recent years aredramatically reflected in expanding bilateral trade and investment. The majoritems of Indian exports to Singapore are textile manufactures, including appareland yarn, precious stones and pearls, parts for office and data machines,aluminium, electrical machinery, fish and fish products, fruits and vegetables.India’s imports from Singapore are petroleum products, electronic valves,telecommunication equipment, electrical machinery, office and data processingmachines, metallic ores/scrap, organic chemicals, primary plastics and scientificinstruments. The Singapore public and private sectors (including NRIs) have invested in a widevariety of projects in India, such as logistics, electronics, software, health services,construction, industrial parks and other real estate linked projects. Several MNCsare routing their investments in India through their Singapore subsidiaries. Majorinternational investment banks, chartered accountancy and managementconsultancy firms have made Singapore their regional headquarters for servicingthe Indian market. Singapore’s Trade Development Board and EconomicDevelopment Board have offices in India. Task forces to facilitate generaleconomic co-operation and co-operation in information technology have been setup.Besides seeking investments from Singapore, India looks to Singapore as agateway to the whole Asia-Pacific region. Many Indian trading and software
companies have set up joint ventures and subsidiaries in Singapore to promotetheir business activities in the region, covering diverse product areas such asautomobile ancillaries, precision tooling, enamelled wires, concentrates for softdrinks, synthetic juice powders, palm kernel processing, micro and minicomputers, etc.Air India, Indian Airlines, STC, MMTC, SCI, four Public Sector banks and twoinsurance companies have branches in Singapore. CII opened a representativeoffice in September 1994. Other government agencies represented in Singaporeinclude EEPC, EXIM Bank and the Tourism Board. Air India and Indian Airlines alsohave offices there and operate bilateral flights, as do SIA and SilkAir. In October2001, the Economic Development Board of Singapore opened an India Centre tohelp Indian companies, especially software and IT companies, set up shop inSingapore.Realignment in global politics after the break-up of the erstwhile Soviet Union andthe impact of the Gulf War on India’s economy ushered in a sea change in India-Singapore relationship. India’s “Look East” policy and its economic liberalizationefforts coincided with Singapore’s regionalization strategy of investing inemerging economies. Since then, there have been many high-level visitsexchanged between the two countries, including Head of State and Head of Government visits. Bilateral agreements on Avoidance of Double Taxation,General Economic Co-operation and Co-operation in Shipping, Tourism, CivilAviation, Information Technology and Science and Technology have been signedbetween India and Singapore. On behalf of the private sector, CII signed a co-operation agreement with the Singapore Confederation of Industry.On the international front, Singapore has played a leading role in ensuring India’sinclusion in ASEAN, first as Sectoral Dialogue Partner (Singapore, 1992) and thenas Full Dialogue Partner (Bangkok, December 1995), which in turn ensured India’smembership in the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). Singapore has also supportedIndia’s participation in the APEC Working Groups and India’s candidatures in othermultilateral fora, including UN organizations. The Comprehensive Economic Co-operation Agreement (CECA) in 2005 paved theway for the two countries to enhance their two-way trade to over $50 billion in fiveyears. The pact on easy movement of professionals is a part of theComprehensive Economic Co-operation Agreement (CECA). India and Singaporehave also agreed to ease visa restrictions for professionals in a wide range of areas including IT, medical/nursing, engineering and pharmacy as alsometallurgists, surveyors, botanists, zoologists, university lecturers, accountants,financial and advertising executives. India and Singapore would recognize thedegrees of specified universities and technical education boards of each countryfor the purpose of issuing multi-entry/job or stay visas.India and Singapore are playing vital roles in transforming South-east Asia, one of the world’s most economically dynamic regions, into an ASEAN EconomicCommunity—a single market and production base with free flow of goods,services, investment and skilled labour, and a freer flow of capital. ASEAN hasprovided India with a new focus for projecting its trade and commerce possibilitiesin its eastern neighbourhood. The sluggishness of the SAARC, because of theobstructive attitude of Pakistan, has lent the ASEAN urgency and higher priority in

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