Pakistan is witnessing sporadic violence and chaos following the assassination of Pakistan ex-premier Benazir Bhutto. Commenting on his visit to Malaysia, Antony said that New Delhi"s "Look East policy" is progressing well and that India enjoys cordial relationship with all the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries.
Stressing upon the importance of Southeast Asia to India, he said: "This area is very important to us, our ties with ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations) are fast improving." Antony had a meeting with his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak this morning.
On Sunday evening, Najib had hosted a dinner in Kuala Lumpur in honour of Antony. On Tuesday, Antony will also call on Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah bin Haji Ahmad Badawi and will pay a visit to Penang, where he would meet Governor Haji Abdul Rahman bin Haji Abbas.
The Defence Co-operation between the two countries was formalised by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in 1993 and it has been expanding steadily since then.
The primary area of co-operation has been in imparting training to Malaysian Defence personnel at various levels including at the National Defence College and Staff College. The Defence Cooperation between the two countries is also characterised by high-level exchange of visits, visit of ships of the two navies, India's regular participation in Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA) exhibition.
In December, the Sixth Malaysia-India Defence Cooperation Meeting (MIDCOM) was held in New Delhi when both sides had meaningful discussions on strengthening defence co-operation as well as to explore new areas of co-operation. Both countries also signed a Protocol on training of Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) Pilots by Indian Air Force on SU-30 MKM aircraft.
In May, a MoU was signed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited with the Malaysian Ministry of Defence for the technical training of RMAF personnel on SU-30 MKM aircraft.
Over the years, India and Malaysia have developed strong bilateral relationship encompassing political, economic, education, cultural and defence fields.