India, Malaysia to deepen defence cooperation, expand trade (Roundup)

Kuala Lumpur, Nov 23 (IANS) India and Malaysia on Monday agreed to deepen defence and security cooperation and expand bilateral trade while signing three accords in the areas of cyber security, culture and infrastructure.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on the third and last day of his visit to Malysia that marked the beginning of the bilateral phase, held delegation-level talks with Malaysian Premier Najib Razak, following which the two leaders held a joint press conference.

Modi attended the 13th Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations)-India Summit on Saturday and the 10th East Asia Summit on Sunday here.

“I am particularly grateful to you (Razak) for our security cooperation,” Modi said at the press conference.

“It underlines our shared commitment to deal with our security challenges. We will continue to deepen our cooperation in this area,” he said.

He said the recent spate of attacks in different countries, apart from the “ceaseless terrorist attempts against India and Afghanistan”, were a reminder of the global nature of this threat.

“We will also make our defence cooperation stronger, including for advancing maritime security and strengthening disaster response in our region,” the Indian prime minister said.

He also said that the agreement to cooperate in cyber-security between the two countries was very important.

“As our lives get more networked, this is emerging as one of the most serious concerns of our age,” he stated.

While the cyber security agreement was signed between the Indian Computer Emergency Team (CERT-IN) and Cyber Security, Malaysia, the one on culture was inked between the ministries of culture of the two countries. The infrastructure development agreement was concluded between India’s NITI Aayog and Malaysia’s Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu).

The Indian prime minister also called for scaling up trade and investment relations with Malaysia.

The two sides agreed “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 joint statement issued at the end of the talks said.

India and Malaysia also agreed to discuss further with a view to concluding the signing of an MoU on transfer of sentenced prisoners to each other’s prisons.

Modi and Razak later jointly inaugurated a Torana Gate, a traditional gateway to Hindu and Buddhist temples, here.

“This Torana is not merely a piece of art on stone. This is connecting the two nations and illustrates the two great cultures,” Modi said while inaugurating the gate at Brickfields, popularly known as Little India, here.

Razak described the gate as a symbol of India-Malaysia friendship.

Torana Gate is a symbol of India-Malaysia friendship. It offers a gateway to one of the oldest civilisations,” he said.

As the visit drew to a close, Modi held a meeting with Corporate Malaysia.

“We have ended regulatory uncertainty to a large extent, creating a policy driven state,” Modi said in his meeting with the corporate honchos.

“I assure you that India wants to progress. You have the experience and expertise. We have the requirement. It is a perfect match,” he said.

Earlier on Monday, Modi was accorded a ceremonial welcome and a guard of honour at Putrajaya, the federal administrative centre of Malaysia, where he was greeted with a hug by Razak.

He later left for Singapore on the second and last leg of his four-day visit to southeast Asia.

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