[vc_row][vc_column width="1/1"][vc_column_text]Singapore: At the invitation of The Honourable Dato' Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia, Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi undertook an Official Visit to Malaysia on 23 November 2015. Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated in the ASEAN–India Summit and East Asia Summit on 21–22 November 2015. The two Prime Ministers held official talks in Putrajaya and jointly inaugurated the Torana Gate in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, a gift from India to Malaysia, as a symbol of India-Malaysia Friendship.
During the official talks, which was held in a warm and cordial atmosphere, the two Prime Ministers acknowledged that India-Malaysia relations have made impressive strides in recent years. The dialogue mechanisms at Ministerial and Official level, supported by a wide range of agreements have also provided a framework to harness the full potential of the Strategic Partnership, established between the two countries in October 2010.
Both leaders also conveyed their condolences to the families of all those on board Malaysian Airlines flight MH 370. In this context, the Prime Minister of Malaysia recalled with appreciation the ready assistance provided by India in the search operations through the deployment of six ships and seven aircraft, including at Subang airbase in Malaysia. The two leaders welcomed the increasing two-way tourist movement and recalled the close cultural and religious affinity of the people of the two countries, including the presence of a large Indian community in Malaysia, which is a positive factor in fostering and developing current and future linkages to imbue greater dynamism to the friendly relations between Malaysia and India.
Recalling their stake in promoting multiculturalism, the two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to democracy, pluralism and development. The two leaders acknowledged the contribution made by Malaysia and India in promoting growth, economic development and stability in the Asia–Pacific region, and recognized each other’s responsibility in the promotion of peace, development and security of the region, and beyond, based on a convergence of political and socio-economic interests and aspirations.
The two Prime Ministers, while expressing satisfaction with the progress of bilateral relations over the years, reaffirmed their determination to take the Strategic Partnership between the two countries to the next level by deepening existing areas and exploring new areas of cooperation. Both Prime Ministers then witnessed the signing of one Agreement on Cultural Exchange Programme for 2015-2020 and two Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) on Cooperation in Project Delivery and Monitoring, and Cooperation on Cyber Security.
In an effort to further broaden and deepen the relationship between the two countries, both leaders agreed to proceed with efforts to develop the Strategic Partnership between the two countries as follows:
1. To hold regular Summits, including on the margins of multilateral events;
2. To arrange the next meeting of the Joint Commission headed by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the two countries, with the next meeting in New Delhi in the first half of 2016;
3. To arrange regular exchanges at the Cabinet level between the Ministers in charge of Trade & Industry, Transport, Public Works and Infrastructure, in line with the new developmental initiatives introduced by India, and the investment and trade opportunities opening up in each other’s country;
4. To hold regular Foreign Office Consultations between the Senior Officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia and the Ministry of External Affairs of India, to enable both countries to monitor the progress of bilateral cooperation, including on regional and strategic issues of mutual interest;
5. Reaffirmed their continued commitment to Parliamentary democracy and to promote further cooperation between the Parliaments of both countries, and underlined the importance of regular and enhanced exchange of visits between Parliamentarians from India and Malaysia;
Economic, Trade and Financial Areas
6. Reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthen bilateral trade and investment cooperation, and to deepen and widen their economic engagement, which has emerged as an important fulcrum of the strategic partnership;
7. Underlined the importance of holding regular meeting of the Ministers of Trade and Industry of both countries;
8. To promote joint collaboration, especially in infrastructure and construction sectors, and to facilitate joint projects and collaboration between the private sectors of the two countries, in line with the new developmental and business initiatives undertaken by India, such as the Make in India, Digital India, Smart Cities and Skill Development that offered significant investment opportunities for Malaysian businesses. The Prime Minister of India conveyed the steps being taken by the Government of India to provide a conducive environment for investors, and invited Malaysian investors to participate in economic activities for the mutual benefits of both countries;
9. Recognising the need to energise the activities of the high-level India-Malaysia CEOs’ Forum, called upon the CEOs’ Forum to develop specific recommendations to enhance business links in priority areas. They further urged the CEOs’ Forum to meet bi-annually and in a timely manner to ensure meaningful follow-up and implementation of recommendations;
10. Welcomed further contributions of Malaysian and Indian-owned financial institutions in both jurisdictions, which reflects the growing economic and financial linkages between the two countries;
11. Commended the contribution of IRCON over the past two decades on railway cooperation in Malaysia, and welcomed IRCON’s significant interest to participate in railway project in the future;
12. Encouraged public and private sector companies from both countries to pro-actively look at large investment opportunities at each other’s country. The two Prime Ministers welcomed the significant interest shown by Malaysian companies to partake in the business opportunities provided by India and their aspiration to invest in infrastructure projects;
13. Welcomed the contribution of Indian investment in Malaysia, in particular India IT firms, especially those located in Cyberjaya, and agreed to continue to promote greater engagement of Indian IT companies in Malaysia;
Defence and Security
14. Agreed to enhance defence exchanges through regular dialogue at various levels, including between the Defence Ministers, senior defence officials, Chiefs of the Armed Services and through Service-to-Service Staff Talks;
15. Agreed to convene the next India-Malaysia Defence Cooperation Meeting at Defence Secretary/Secretary General level;
16. Welcomed the outcome of the joint exercises HARIMAU SHAKTI and to upgrade the exercises to company level, and subsequently to tri-services exercises;
17. Agreed to set up the SU-30 Forum for cooperation in training, maintenance, technical support and safety-related issues, building on the assistance by India for successful completion of the SU 30 MKM training programme by Indian pilots in Malaysia;
18. Further agreed to promote joint collaboration on projects of mutual interest in the defence sector including in the areas of defence equipment and industry, research, training and capacity building;
19. Agreed to institute annual talks between the Heads of the Indian Coast Guards and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency including during Head of Asian Coast Guard Agencies Meeting (HACGAM).
20. Agreed to establish mechanism for sharing of information, including for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster relief (HADR) and white shipping;
21. Agreed to establish linkages between the Centre for UN Peacekeeping of India (CUNPK) and Malaysian Peacekeeping Centre (MPC);
22. Expressed strong condemnation for terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and called upon all States to reject terrorism and bring perpetrators of terrorism to justice. In this context, they welcomed the ongoing cooperation between the two countries on counter terrorism and agreed to further enhance cooperation in this direction;
23. Agreed to continue sharing of information and best practices to address the challenges posed by terrorism, and other traditional and non-traditional threats;
24. Reaffirmed that the two countries share a mutual interest in cooperating for peace, prosperity and security of the Asia-Pacific region and beyond;
25. Agreed to discuss further with a view to conclude the signing of the MoU on Transfer of Sentenced Prisoners, which act as an important humanitarian gesture towards sentenced prisoners;
Tourism and Education
26. Acknowledged the success of the Festival of India in Malaysia 2015, supported by the Malaysian Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Indian Ministry of Culture and the Indian High Commission, and held for the first time in all major cities and States of Malaysia;
27. Reaffirming their desire to promote greater opportunities for students to pursue their higher studies in each other’s’ country, agreed to conclude a MoU on mutual recognition of Universities and degrees between India and Malaysia at the earliest;
28. Welcomed the additional contribution by India of Indian Rupees 50 million to the Indian Scholarship Trust Fund, managed by the High Commission of India in Kuala Lumpur, which has been operating since 1954 for deserving Malaysian Indian students;
29. Welcomed the renaming of the Indian Cultural Centre in Kuala Lumpur as "Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Indian Cultural Centre”;
30. Welcomed the contribution of Indian workers to the Malaysian economy;
31. To further enhance mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries in the field of labour through Joint Working Group Meeting, as well as exchanges of visits and information on latest policies, laws and regulations;
32. Recognising the need to promote greater cooperation between the two countries in Ayurveda and other Indian systems of traditional medicine, Malaysia welcomed the deputation of an Ayurveda practitioner and two therapists from India under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation programme. The two sides also welcomed the gift of a Shirodara Yantra machine from the Government of India to Malaysia;
33. Agreed to receive a Siddha practitioner from India to Malaysia under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation programme;
Science and Technology
34. Sustainable Energy development has been a key component towards achieving energy security in the future with both Malaysia and India having actively pursued to increase renewable energy sources so as to strengthen their energy security while increasing energy access. Noting that, both sides agreed to set up a Joint Working Group on New and Renewable Energy at the earliest that would serve as a good platform for both countries to exchange ideas and forge mutually beneficial collaboration;
35. Noted the excellent ongoing cooperation between the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, India and Public Service Department, Malaysia under the MoU on Cooperation in the field of Public Administration and Governance. Following the 3rd Joint Working Group Meeting held in Kuala Lumpur on 28–30 September 2015, both sides will work on implementing the decisions made in the Meeting for fostering cooperation in English language training, Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET), e-governance, training institute collaboration, retirement benefits management, taxation data and business intelligence, and project implementation and oversight;
36. Welcomed the proposal for both sides to establish cooperation in areas of performance management, project delivery and monitoring;
37. Welcomed the conclusion of the Bilateral Work Agreement between Malaysia and India that authorise spouses of diplomatic agents and members of the administrative and technical staff of diplomatic missions and spouses of consular officers at consular posts for employment in the respective receiving State on a reciprocal basis;
Regional and International Cooperation
38. Reaffirming the importance of strategic engagement of India in regional initiatives to shape an open, transparent and inclusive regional order and ASEAN’s centrality in the evolving regional architecture, welcomed the enhanced relations between ASEAN and India, especially since the elevation of the partnership to a strategic status at the ASEAN–India Commemorative Summit in 2012 in New Delhi;
39. Welcomed the adoption by ASEAN and India of the new Plan of Action (2016-2020) to implement the ASEAN–India Partnership for Peace, Progress and Shared Prosperity at the ASEAN–India Ministerial Meeting in Kuala Lumpur on 5 August 2015;
40. Welcomed the successful holding of the 27th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits and commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the East Asia Summit in November 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, and further welcomed the 2015 Kuala Lumpur Declaration on the Establishment of the ASEAN Community and the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on the ASEAN 2025: Forging Ahead Together;
41. Welcomed the signing of the ASEAN–India Trade in Services and Investment Agreements, and took note of the progress towards finalising the Regional Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Partnership (RCEP) Agreement;
42. Stressed that the 70th anniversary of the United Nations is an occasion to urge for early reforms of the United Nations, including the reform of the UN Security Council. Malaysia took note of India’s aspiration for permanent membership of a reformed United Nations Security Council; and
43. Welcomed the post-2015 Development Agenda adopted by the United Nations with eradication of poverty by 2030 as its core objective.
The Prime Minister of India expressed his appreciation to the Prime Minister of Malaysia for the warm reception and hospitality extended to him and his delegation for the visit, and invited the Malaysian Prime Minister to undertake another visit to India at a mutually convenient date, which was accepted by the Prime Minister of Malaysia.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
Sanjay Trivedi is honorary editor of Asia Times. He is senior Indian Journalist having vast experience of 25 years. He worked in Janmabhoomi, Vyapar, Divya Bhaskar etc. newspapers and TV9 Channel as well as www.news4education.com. He also served as Media Officer in Gujarat Technological University.