Bust of Nehru set up in Singapore

Singapore: As a special tribute to India-Singapore relations, a bust of first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru has been erected here, clubbing him with a select group of eminent global personalities, including former Chinese President Deng Xiaoping.

The `Friends of our Shore` (FOS) marker of Nehru will be unveiled by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his two-day visit here. So far, four personalities had been given this decoration, which was started in 2004. They are Polish-English writer Joseph Conrad (2004); Father of modern Vietnam Ho Chih Min (2008); Filipino revolutionary leader Jose Rizal (2008) and Deng (2010).

Nehru has been accorded the honour in recognition of his contributions to India-Singapore relations. The Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) had commissioned sculptor Prof Biman Bose to make the bust, which has dimensions of 330x460x510 mm.

The marker is located at the Asian Civilisations Museum, on a green stretch along with Singapore River. It is a historically significant area in Singapore as it was on the banks of this river that modern Singapore began to build its reputation. The FOS project is part of Singaporean National Heritage Board`s efforts to deepen cultural ties and forge heritage collaborations with its "regional and international neighbours".

The project is aimed at providing better understanding to Singaporeans and others about the "shared history with its neighbours, as well as the various significant personalities who have played a part in Singapore`s history".

"The markers also provide a bridge for better understanding between various people as they begin to see and understand the ties between Singapore and their homeland and how diplomatic, cultural and people-to-people ties have created the exchange of ideas and friendship benefiting both Singapore and their countries," a background document says.

Nehru was a good friend of Singapore which he visited thrice. He first visited Singapore in May 1937 as part of a pan-Malayan tour, then in 1946. After independence, he came to Singapore in June 1950 on a State visit during which he laid the foundation stones for the Singapore Indian Association headquarters as well as the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hall.