India seeks immediate agreement with Malaysia on recruitment

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New Delhi, Jan 9 (UNI) India today asked Malaysia to expedite an agreement on regulating the employment conditions and welfare of each other's nationals in the two countries.

Defence Minister A K Antony said he discussed the matter with the Malaysian Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister during his visit to that country.

''I urged the Foreign Minister to expedite the process of signing a proposed memorandum of understanding that will regulate the employment conditions and welfare of Indian workers in Malaysia and Malaysian nationals in India,'' he said here.

Mr Antony was talking to journalists on the sidelines of a function to launch the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) here on his return from Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

''The Malaysian Foreign Minister promised me to expedite the process,'' he added.

''Nobody raised the issue,'' the Defence Minister replied when asked if the matter of the ban on Indian workers in Malaysia came up for discussions during his visit.

''However,'' ''he said the topic came up during my meetings with the Malaysian Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister.'' The remarks came in the backdrop of Malaysia's announcement last night, barring Indians from seeking employment in that country after strong protests by ethnic Indians against their alleged marginalisation.

However, Malaysia later denied the reported ban.

''We had very cordial and fruitful talks. It was a very successful visit. We focused on expanding defence cooperation and the Malaysian leaders were very positive in response,'' the Defence Minister asserted.

He said it was only during his visit that Malaysia awarded a major long-pending contract to IRCON.

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