India calls for better economic ties between India, Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, June 7 (ANI): Secretary (East) in the Ministry Of External Affairs, Anil Wadhwa, on Sunday called for better economic and commercial ties between India and Malaysia.

“We have more than US $ 6 billion worth of Malaysian investments in India and a further US $ 6 billion or more has been completed by Malaysian company ties by way of projects in India. Indian companies have also invested more than US $ 2 billion in Malaysia. Our bilateral trade now stands at US $ 13.82 billion for 2014. However, in the last couple of years, there has been a relative lull on both fronts partly due to the international economic climate and partly due to our respective country’s pre-occupation with the political process. The time to shrug this lethargy has arrived and we need to take our economic and commercial relations to the next level,” Wadhwa said while addressing the Global Business Forum here.

Wadhwa said that the two nations should set a trade target of US $ 100 billion by the end of this year and US $ 200 billion by 2022.

“Our Prime Minister has already mentioned that time for “Look East” is over and it is now time for “Act East”. Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-India have a healthy trade partnership and the two-way trade is currently around US $ 80 billion. This is certainly not adequate. We have set ourselves a target of US $ 100 billion by the end of this year and US $ 200 billion by 2022. These are eminently gettable. The India-ASEAN FTA in Goods, signed in 2009, and the India-ASEAN Agreement on Trade & Services and Investment, signed last year, have set the platform for future growth. There is further scope for liberalization of tariff lines. The ongoing negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement should also bring the East Asia community together. I am happy that the ASEAN-India Business Council, co-chaired by Dato’ Ramesh Koddamal, organised successfully the first ASEAN-India Business Forum last month in Kuala Lumpur. We need to build on this and make our business interactions more frequent and qualitative,” said Wadhwa.

MEA Secretary (East) said that Malaysia can be a very useful launching pad to penetrate ASEAN markets.

“By becoming an economic community by the end of the year, ASEAN will become even more attractive to investors, and Malaysia can be a very useful launching pad to penetrate ASEAN markets. While our trade and commercial linkages with all ASEAN countries have been expanding, our engagement has been not confined only to that area. Our recent initiatives also include establishing a Satellite Tracking and Date Reception Station and Data Processing Facility for ASEAN Member States in Vietnam and Indonesia as well as training to ASEAN personnel in Space Science and Technology,” Wadhwa said.

“We have also established many IT Training Centres in CLMV countries and furthering our connectivity with ASEAN region. As you can see, we are progressing rapidly on many fronts and we are confident that, with Malaysia as the Chair of the ASEAN for 2015, India’s engagement with ASEAN Member States will take a big leap forward. You would also be happy to know that in the recent Budget, the Government of India has announces a corpus of US $ 1 billion to create a Project Development Agency under EXIM Bank of India to support projects and investments by the Indian private sector in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV countries),” he added.

Wadhwa said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi looks forward to his visit to Malaysia in November this year to take our relations with ASEAN Member States, especially Malaysia, to higher trajectory.

“Our Prime Minister looks forward to his visit to Malaysia in November this year for the India-ASEAN and the East Asia Summits and to take our relations with ASEAN Member States, in particular with Malaysia, to higher trajectory. We have forged a Strategic Partnership with Malaysia in 2010 and we need to break new ground, including in the socio-economic sectors,” Wadhwa said while addressing the forum.

Anil Wadhwa said that liberalisation is on the card of India and Malaysia and initiatives such as Make in India, infrastructure corridors, promoting the manufacturing sector in 25 key sectors, Digital India Campaign to promote services and IT-based industries are of considerable interest to Malaysia.

“Liberalisation is already on the cards, including through initiatives such as Make in India, infrastructure corridors, promoting the manufacturing sector in 25 key sectors, Digital India Campaign to promote services and IT-based industries, etc. It is self-evident that some of these areas are of considerable interest to Malaysia, and Malaysia. India offers three ‘Ds’ – Democracy, Demography and Demand. As Malaysia prospers and India grows, our multi-dimensional engagement is bound to go to a higher trajectory,” said Wadhwa. 

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