Lunch Dialogue on "Doing Business in India"


India is one of the world’s fastest growing economies and it has been slated as the next global growth engine. A slew of economic initiatives under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government — such as Make in India, Digital India, Smart Cities, Start Up India and more, which collectively envision India as a “highly-functioning economy” focussed on industry, innovation, entrepreneurship, infrastructure development and total digital connectivity — open doors to investment in India.

In May this year, the Singapore consortium comprising Ascendas-Singbridge and Sembcorp Development was awarded the master development rights to build Andhra Pradesh’s new capital city, Amaravati. It marks a significant milestone in bilateral relations between India and Singapore. This month, India rolls out one of its most significant reforms to date through the introduction of its Goods and Services Tax. This wide-ranging, cross-sector initiative will ease administration and related costs by reducing the complexity of the existing multiple indirect taxes landscape. It will also reduce business costs by encouraging centralised operations and streamlined distribution networks — benefitting investors.

Join Ambassador-at-Large Gopinath Pillai, Singapore’s Special Envoy to Andhra Pradesh, and Mr Manohar Khiatani, Deputy Group CEO of Ascendas-Singbridge, for a dialogue on Doing Business in India. They will share their insights on these developments, how businesses can capitalise on India’s growth trajectory as well as navigate the landscape there.


Ambassador Gopinath PILLAI has had a varied career as an entrepreneur and diplomat. He is the founding Chairman of the Management Board of the Institute of South Asian Studies, Ambassador-at-Large in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since August 2008, and Singapore’s Special Envoy to Andhra Pradesh. He was Singapore’s longest serving Non-Resident Ambassador to Iran between 1989 and 2008, and also served as Singapore’s High Commissioner to Pakistan. He is also Chairman of the Indian Heritage Centre Advisory Board.

His business interests include education, logistics, and information technology. He is Chairman of Malvern International Plc, listed on AIM in London, United Kingdom (UK).

For his manifold contributions to public service, the Singapore government has awarded him the Public Service Star Award (BBM) in 1999, BBM (BAR) in 2009 and The Meritorious Service Medal in 2015. For his efforts in bridging and advancing Singapore-India relations, the Indian government conferred him with the Padma Shri Award at the 2012 Republic Day. The National University of Singapore (NUS) has bestowed on him the Outstanding Service Award in 2015. In 2016, NUS Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences has bestowed on him the Distinguished Arts and Social Sciences Alumni Award.

Mr Manohar KHIATANI is the Deputy Group CEO of Ascendas-Singbridge (ASB), a leading provider of integrated urban development and business space solutions. ASB has presence across 29 cities in Asia and Australia with Assets under Management amounting to some US$15 billion.

Before joining Ascendas in 2013, Mr Khiatani served as the CEO of JTC Corporation (JTC), the Singapore Government’s lead agency to plan, promote and develop industrial infrastructure and facilities. Prior to joining JTC in 2009, Mr Khiatani was the Deputy Managing Director at the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), where he oversaw the development of several industry clusters and the operations in the Americas and Europe. Between 1994 and 1999, Mr Khiatani was the Managing Director of Preussag SEA, a diversified German conglomerate.

Mr Khiatani is a Board Member of several companies listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange. This includes Ascendas Funds Management (S) Limited (the Manager of Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust), Ascendas Property Fund Trustee Pte Ltd (the Trustee-Manager of Ascendas India Trust), Ascendas Hospitality Fund Management Pte Ltd/Ascendas Hospitality Trust Management Pte Ltd (the Managers of Ascendas Hospitality Trust) and SIA Engineering Company Ltd. He also sits on various business and government committees.


Professor Tommy KOH is Ambassador-at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore, Chairman of the Governing Board of the Centre for International Law, and Rector of Tembusu College at NUS. He is the Co-Chairman of the China-Singapore Forum, the India-Singapore Strategic Dialogue, and the Japan-Singapore Symposium. Professor Koh was Singapore’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) in New York for 13 years and served as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to Russia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Professor Koh was President of the Third UN Conference on the Law of the Sea, and he chaired the Preparatory Committee as well as the Main Committee at the Earth Summit. He also served as Ambassador to the United States of America for six years and was Singapore’s Chief Negotiator for the United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement. He chaired two dispute panels for the World Trade Organization and also served as the Dean of the Faculty of Law at NUS.


By Invitation only.


If you have any enquiries, please contact Ms Jasline Ng at 6516-8382 or via email:  

Monday, 14 August 2017
12.00 noon to 2.00 pm