Celebrating 50 Years of Diplomatic Relations between India and Singapore


Audience to be seated by 6:50pm

Register at this link or click on the poster.


6.50pm: All to be seated in Tembusu College Multi-purpose Hall

7.00pm: Assoc Prof Gregory Clancey, Master of Tembusu College, will introduce the Tembusu Forum

7.05pm: Prof Tommy Koh, Rector of Tembusu College, will introduce the topic and speakers

7.15pm: Professor Tan Tai Yong

7.30pm: High Commissioner Vijay Thakur Singh

7.45pm: Mr Jonathan Tow

8.00pm: Question & Answer session with students

9.00pm: End of forum

Brief Biography of Speakers:

HE Ms. Vijay Thakur Singh is the High Commissioner of India to Singapore. Prior to her current appointment, she served as Joint Secretary in the National Security Council Secretariat (from September 2012 to June 2013), Joint Secretary to the President of India (August 2007 till August 2012), Deputy Chief of Mission in the Embassy of India, Madrid (February 2006 to August 2007), Counsellor in the Embassy of India in Kabul (September 2003 to November 2005), Counsellor in the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations in New York (June 2000 to July 2003), Director in the UN Division in the Ministry of External Affairs (January 2000 to June 2000), and as Director, Deputy Secretary and Under Secretary in the Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran Division in the Ministry of External Affairs (April 1989 to December 1999). Ms. Singh has also served as Third Secretary in the Embassy of India, Madrid (December 1986 to March 1989).

Ms. Singh who was born on 18th September 1960 is married. Her mother tongue is Hindi; she also speaks Spanish and French. Her educational qualification is an MA in Economics and Bachelor of Laws.

For the forum, High Commissioner Thakur Singh will be speaking on India-Singapore relations as they have evolved and the potential in future.

Professor Tan Tai Yong is a historian and currently Executive Vice President (Academic Affairs) of Yale-NUS College. Prior to this, he was Vice Provost (Student Life) at the National University of Singapore (NUS) from 2010 to 2014.

Professor Tan is concurrently Director of the Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS), a NUS-based research institute that is dedicated to research on contemporary India and the countries in the South Asian region. He is also a Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP).

Professor Tan has written extensively on South Asian history as well as on Southeast Asia and Singapore. His recent books include Singapore – A 700 Year History (2009), Creating ‘Greater Malaysia’: Decolonisation and the Politics of Merger (2008); Partition and Post-Colonial South Asia: A Reader (co-edited, 2007); The Garrison State (2005), The Aftermath of Partition in South Asia (co-authored, 2000) and The Transformation of Southeast Asia: International Perspectives on De-colonisation (co-edited, 2003).

For the forum, Professor Tan will show that the links between India and Singapore are far deeper than the 50 years of diplomatic relations that the two countries are celebrating this year. Despite the strong historical ties between the two countries, linked for by heritage, culture and people, what does their current contexts and vastly different circumstances augur for their future? Does India matter to Singapore, and vice versa?

Mr Jonathan Tow is Acting Director-General of the South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa Directorate in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Prior to this appointment, he was Deputy High Commissioner at the Singapore High Commission in New Delhi from 2011 to 2014.

Mr Tow graduated from the National University of Singapore with a BA (Hons) in History in 1996. In 2005, he obtained an MA (with honors) in Security Studies from Georgetown University on a Fulbright Scholarship and attended the Beijing Language and Culture University in 2006.

Mr Tow joined the Singapore Civil Service in 1996 and has held various research and management appointments in the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From 2007 to 2010, he served as First Secretary (Political) at the Singapore Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York.

Mr Tow will be sharing the Government of Singapore’s perspective on our relations with India during the forum.


The Tembusu (Fagraea fragrans) is a large evergreen tree in the family Gentianaceae. It is native to Southeast Asia. Its trunk is dark brown, with deeply fissured bark, looking somewhat like a bittergourd. It grows in an irregular shape from 10 to 25m high. Its leaves are light green and oval in shape. Its yellowish flowers have a distinct fragrance and the fruits of the tree are bitter tasting red berries, which are eaten by birds and fruit bats.