Madam President, Prime Minister, Distinguished Guests, Ladies & Gentlemen
It gives my wife and I the greatest possible pleasure to be in Singapore and to be able to enjoy your splendid hospitality this evening.
Although my wife and I have both made numerous short visits to Singapore in recent years, we could not be more delighted that on this Official Visit we have time to experience so much more of what makes Singapore so very special.
Today Singapore is a truly remarkable place - a thriving and dynamic State that has so marvellously realized founding Prime Minister Mr Lee KuanYew's vision for "a sovereign democratic and independent nation, founded upon the principles of liberty and justice."
When Sir Stamford Raffles and Colonel William Farquhar arrived on this island, 198 years ago, he could scarcely have imagined the shining future that lay ahead of it; and yet he was prescient enough to realize that it had extraordinary potential. The bustling commercial hub that Singapore became within a few short decades of Raffles and Farquhar'sarrival was the seed from which the global city that we see today has grown so impressively.
It gives me tremendous pride that, as Singapore has flourished over the decades, so has her friendship with the United Kingdom. We have prospered together and, as my wife and I acknowledged at the Cenotaph this morning, we have suffered together too.
Today, ours is a close partnership of equals, underpinned by our shared history and, if I may say so, by the trust and understanding that come with true friendship.
It is a friendship that means so much to us all: Tothe thousands of talented young Singaporeans who choose to study in the United Kingdom's world class universities every year and, in so doing, greatly enrich our academic life – and, indeed, the life of our society as a whole.
To the British Companies for whom Singapore's culture of excellence and innovation is the key to unlocking smarter, better solutions.
To all of the British and Singaporean agencies and institutions, including our armed forces, whose fruitful collaboration, such as that embodied by the Five Power Defence Arrangements, makes usstronger, safer and more prosperous.
Our two countries understand that if we are to address the challenges facing our world – from the horror of man-made climate change to the pernicious evil of terrorism – we must work together in partnership, just as we must if we are to enrich our societies and fuel our economies to deliver better futures for our children and grandchildren.
At the core of our relationship, Madam President, is our shared belief that, by working together, one plus one can equal so much more than two.
It was so important to my wife and I that, as we look forward to the 25th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London next year, we should start this Commonwealth Tour in Singapore where the very first CHOGM was held thirty-six years ago. Singapore is an essential and deeply valued member of our Commonwealth family, the special importance of which has been a cornerstone in my life as, of course, it has been for Her Majesty The Queen.
Madam President, tonight is an opportunity for us to celebrate all that our two countries do together and the great strength of the friendship between us.
It is in that spirit, Ladies & Gentlemen, that I ask you all to rise and to join me in a toast to The President of the Republic of Singapore, and to the people of Singapore.