Indian minister Jaishankar's official visit to Malaysia a big boost for relations of two countries, says business council

India’s External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): The upcoming official visit of India’s External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar to Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday (March 27) is poised to serve as a crucial platform for both countries to discuss their visions for the Indo-Pacific region, especially as Malaysia prepares to assume the Asean chair in 2025.

Co-Chairman of Asean India Business Council (AIBC), Datuk Ramesh Kodammal, underscored India’s steadfast commitment to Asean norms and principles, aligning with the region's collective vision and priorities, notably against superpower rivalries.

He emphasised India's dedication to maintaining an inclusive, peaceful, rule-based, and open Indo-Pacific region, which resonates with Asean's AOIP (ASEAN Outlook on Indo-Pacific).

"With the upcoming visit of Jaishankar, we can see progress in the diplomatic ties between Malaysia and India,” he said in a statement to Bernama commenting on the visit of Jaishankar to Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines from March 23 to March 27, following invitations from his counterparts in these nations.

The Indian Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement that the official visit underscores India’s commitment to strengthening bilateral ties and fostering regional cooperation in South-East Asia.

Although the bilateral relationship between Malaysia and India has seen ups and downs in recent years, Ramesh noted that both Delhi and Kuala Lumpur have earnestly addressed unexpected challenges, preserving a warm and meaningful relationship.

Malaysia is one of the four Asean member countries with which India has signed strategic partnership agreements, the others being Indonesia, Singapore, and Vietnam.

Ramesh highlighted the significance of the shift from a strategic partnership to a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2015 during the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Malaysia, showcasing Malaysia’s importance on India’s Act East policy.

While trade, commerce, and investment ties between the two countries have been growing, defence cooperation is also reaching new heights. With almost US$20 billion bilateral trade in 2022-2023, the two countries aim to cross a US$25 billion mark by 2026.

"With Asean-India Free Trade Agreement (AIFTA) coming into force in January 2010 and the Malaysia-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (MI-CECA) in 2011, India’s bilateral trade with Malaysia has increased from US$10 billion in 2010 to about US$20 billion in 2023, with an annualised growth rate of about 10 per cent,” said Ramesh.

Despite considerable post-pandemic growth, bilateral trade remains significantly imbalanced in favour of Malaysia.

Ramesh pointed out the importance of achieving more balanced trade and expanding India’s exports to Malaysia as well as the value chains.

In 2022, Malaysia and India celebrated the 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations along with 30 years of the ASEAN-India Dialogue Partnership.

Ramesh also emphasised the need for new momentum in the partnership, noting Malaysia's significance in India’s Act East Policy and the potential for greater people-to-people contact and tourism flow between the two countries. - Bernama

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Malaysia , India , Jaishankar , Ramesh Kodammal , AIBC


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