Malaysian PM Najib arrives on five-day state visit to India
New Delhi, January 19, 2010
Malaysian Prime Minister Mohammed Najib Tun Abdul Razak arrived here this evening on a five-day State Visit to India during which the two countries will sign several agreements aimed at forging closer bilateral cooperation between them, including possibly an extradition pact.
This is the first Prime Ministerial visit from Malaysia in six years after the trip made in December, 2004 by Mr Abdullah Badawi.
Mr Najib was received on his arrival at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) by Minister of State for Railways E Ahamed.
Enhancing ties with Malaysia, an important South-East Asian nation, is high on India's agenda, given the emphasis on its "Look East" policy, and its keenness to improve trade relations with ASEAN countries, with whom it has recently concluded a Free Trade Area agreement.
That Malaysia is also keen on improving ties with India is evident from the fact that Mr Najib has chosen to visit the country within the first year of his term after visiting China.
Mr Najib is accompanied by a large delegation that includes several cabinet ministers, deputy ministers, chief ministers, members of Parliament, senior officials and a business delegation.
After a ceremonial welcome tomorrow morning, Mr Najib will call on President Pratibha Patil and Vice-President M Hamid Ansari. External Affairs Minister S M Krishna and Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj will call on him. He will meet ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Chairperson Sonia Gandhi at her 10, Janpath residence tomorrow afternoon.
In the evening tomorrow, Mr Najib will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for bilateral talks, during which the two sides will review the relations between the two countries and exchange views on various regional and international issues of mutual interst.
The two Prime Ministers will also witness the signing of several memoranda of understanding and agreements between the two countries. Dr Singh will host a banquet in honour of Mr Najib at Hyderabad House later tomorrow evening.
Before leaving for Chennai on Thursday afternoon, Mr Najib will also have a meeting with Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi, who will call on him.
This will be one of the rare one-on-one meetings that Mr Gandhi will have with a visiting foreign head of government and it has evoked a lot of interest in political circles here.
In Chennai, Mr Najib will deliver the keynote address at the 16th Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Global Partnership Summit 2010. He will also meet Tamil Nadu Governor Surjit Singh Barnala and Chief Minister M Karunanidhi. He is due to fly back home on Saturday morning.
The value of bilateral trade between India and Malaysia was $ 10.5 billion in 2008. India is Malaysia's largest trading partner among countries of the South, excluding ASEAN and China. Similarly, Malaysia has now emerged as India's second largest trading partner in the ASEAN after Singapore.
Malaysia is also now emerging as a major potential investor in India, with investments in the pipeline in power, oil refineries, telecommunications and electrical equipment industries, besides highway and other infrastructure development projects. Of late, there has been a surge in the flow of private sector project-related investments from Malaysia into India.
Besides, the two countries are cooperating in the area of defence, especially in training. The Indian Air Force is training personnel of the Royal Malaysian Air Force in operation and maintenance of Su-30 MKM aircraft.
"India-Malaysia relationship has witnessed considerable progress in the last few years. The visit of the Malaysian Prime Minister to India will contribute to further strengthening and expanding the close bilateral relations between the two countries," a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs added.