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India, Malaysia sign extradition treaty, to scale up FDI

Wednesday, January 20, 2010 10:46:09 PM, IANS

Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak and his wife Datin Sri Rosmah Mansor being received by the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh and his wife Mrs. Gursharan Kaur, at a ceremonial reception, at Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi on January 20, 2010.

New Delhi: Buoyed by improving ties, India and Malaysia Wednesday signed an extradition treaty and decided to fast-track negotiations to wrap up a free trade area agreement by the end of this year.


Days before India’s first monorail made by Malaysia’s Scomi Group goes for its test run in Mumbai, the two countries sought to scale up two-way investment in areas ranging from real estate, biosciences, ICT and transport sectors.


Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and visiting Malaysian premier Mohammed Najib Tun Abdul Razak held talks here on a wide range of bilateral, regional and global issues. Expanded cooperation in countering terrorism, more collaboration in knowledge industries and a proposed FTA figured prominently in the discussions.


Issues relating to the welfare of 1.9 million persons of Indian origin living in Malaysia, mostly from Tamil Nadu, also figured in the talks.


The two sides inked an extradition treaty and a memorandum of understanding on greater cooperation in higher education.


India’s Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and Securities Commission of Malaysia signed another accord, called the Malaysia-India Capital Collaborative Agreement.


The extradition treaty, which the two sides have been negotiating for years, was signed by External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and his Malaysian counterpart Anifah Aman.


In 2002, a Malaysian court had refused to extradite Ottavio Quattrocchi, one of the prime accused in the multi-billion dollar Bofors payoff scam that rocked India over two decades ago. There was no formal extradition treaty between them at that time. Quattrocchi was arrested in Malaysia in 2000.


India hopes the extradition treaty will help both countries in countering trans-national crimes, official sources said.


Scaling up economic ties to a new level also dominated the discussions between the two sides.


The capital collaborative agreement, a key step for expanding two-way FDI, will enable both regulators to collaborate in developing their respective markets and in relevant areas of cross-border cooperation.


Interacting with Indian industrialists, the Malaysian leader suggested the formation of a CEOs forum and called for the finalisation of a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement by the end of this year.


“I believe the time has come to move forward towards a resolution that will spur economic growth for both our nations,” Razak said at a joint interaction with leading industry chambers.


Razak’s decision to visit India, in the first year of his government, soon after visiting China, underlines a shift in perception of India in Malaysia and other ASEAN countries and their keen desire to forge a closer relationship with the world’s second fastest growing economy.


India is increasingly seen in Malaysia as a source of quality technology and a hub of innovations in biotechnology, IT and education.


“India has high quality technology to serve diverse sectors, and vast experience in a wide range of sciences,” Razak said. “Malaysia, on the other hand, needs expertise in bioscience, ICT, and in education. It makes sense for us to look to India as a key source for them,” he stressed.

Bilateral trade had crossed $10 billion in 2008.


Razak also advocated a greater role for Malaysian construction companies, which have already completed projects $2.3 billion worth of projects here, in India’s infrastructure expansion.


Razak, who arrived in New Delhi Tuesday on a five-day state visit, was given a ceremonial welcome at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan Wednesday morning. He called on President Pratibha Patil and discussed bilateral relations.


He also met Vice President Hamid Ansari, the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chair Sonia Gandhi and Sushma Swaraj, leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha.


The only engagement Razak has in New Delhi Thursday morning is a meeting with Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi before leaving for Chennai, the hub of Malaysian investment in India. He is likely to meet Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi.







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