Complementarities of India-Malaysia economies offer numerous possibilities for cooperation

KUALA LUMPUR: The complementarities of the India-Malaysia economies offer numerous possibilities for cooperation between the two countries, said India's High Commissioner to Malaysia B. N. Reddy (pic).

Reddy said bilateral relations were poised for a boost keeping in view the priorities of the Malaysian government, such as digital economy, equitable healthcare, renewable energy, and the competencies of Indian companies in digital technologies, financial technology and renewable energy, which he said offered great synergies for partnership.

He said similarly, Malaysian companies with their competencies in construction, infrastructure, electronics manufacturing and in other fields, have huge opportunities in India’s ambitious infrastructure expansion plans and India's semiconductor mission.

He said there were a number of products or sectors including in the electronic goods, pharmaceuticals, agricultural and organic produce, marine products and others, where mutually beneficial trade relationships could be forged.

"We are committed to strengthening our trade and business engagement and take it to newer heights, as we celebrate 65 years of India-Malaysia diplomatic relations," he told Bernama in an interview recently in conjunction with the celebration.

He was asked what were the new areas of cooperation that both countries could further explore in their bilateral relations.

In 2010, India and Malaysia established a Strategic Partnership covering the entire gamut of bilateral relations.

It was during the visit of Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi to Malaysia in November 2015, that the two countries elevated the relations to Enhanced Strategic Partnership.

Reddy said he was confident that the New Delhi-Kuala Lumpur bilateral relationship would achieve its full potential as envisaged in the Enhanced Strategic Partnership as both countries embark on 65 years of diplomatic relations this year.

"India-Malaysia relations have made impressive strides during the last six and half decades, except for a brief hiatus in 2019.

"Historical linkages between India and Malaysia by virtue of geographical proximity and people-to-people contacts for millennia, have helped to lay a strong foundation to our bilateral partnership with Malaysia," he said.

On the question of whether there was any specific ongoing investment proposals currently between the two countries, Reddy said there were several ongoing discussions, concerning investment proposals especially in the fields of E-commerce, electric vehicles, renewable energy and others and specific announcements to be made once the investment decisions are concluded.

"The Covid-19 pandemic has brought to fore new set of challenges and also opened new frontiers of cooperation," he said.

Reddy also said that huge prospects exist for India in fulfilling Malaysia’s workforce requirement and skill development.

In the interview, Reddy pointed out that this important milestone in bilateral relations - India-Malaysia@65, provides an opportunity to explore new areas of cooperation, while at the same time consolidating the progress made so far.

"With the fast-growing economic and commercial cooperation as well as in defence sector, India-Malaysia relations can be described as close, friendly and special, which are poised to reach newer heights in the coming years," he added.

Reddy pointed out that despite the challenges of Covid-19 on several fronts, India's bilateral trade with Malaysia grew significantly.

The bilateral trade reached US$19.4bil during the financial year 2021-22 growing by over 34 per cent, reaching a record new high.

Malaysia’s exports to India were dominated by petroleum, palm-oil related products, electronic goods and chemicals and others.

India’s exports to Malaysia are driven by engineering goods, chemicals, petroleum derived products, meat, sugar and other food products.

Reddy explained that historical trade linkages between India and Malaysia have laid a strong foundation to the bilateral trade and investment partnership, which continued to thrive until the present day with contemporary trade ties having expanded to include a diverse basket of goods and services.

"While the trade base is strong, the potential for further expanding trade between our two countries is immense.

"During the bilateral Foreign Office Consultations in April this year, the two sides have committed to expand the value, volume and variety of bilateral trade," he further said.

According to Reddy, regular meetings of the India-Malaysia CEOs Forum will also be renewed with the composition of the CEOs having revised recently while the next Joint Commission meeting at the level of Foreign Ministers is also scheduled later this year to review the progress in the entire gamut of bilateral relations.

Reddy opined that equally important would be to hold greater exchange of perspectives on regional and global matters, "bearing in mind the rapidly changing geo-political and geo-economic dynamics with far reaching implications for both of our countries".

He said that it was also high time that both countries review the bilateral India-Malaysia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (MI-CECA) that came into force in 2011, to reflect the contemporary priorities of the two countries.

The High Commissioner pointed out that the two countries were also witnessing the revival of high-level exchanges at ministerial and senior official level both ways, as both countries had fully opened travel restrictions, describing this development as very timely as both countries celebrated 65 years of diplomatic relations.

"Trade and investment ties have the potential to become even a stronger pillar of our Enhanced Strategic Partnership.

"I am confident that the Indian and Malaysian business communities will come forward and take advantage of the new and emerging opportunities in trade as well as in investments.

"I also invite the Malaysian businesses to become part of India’s growth story, as India began its journey to become a developed country by 2047," he further said. - Bernama

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