India, Malaysia to intensify economic ties

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Manmohan Singh
Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Oct. 27: India and Malaysia  on Wednesday, Oct 27 successfully concluded the dialogue on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation agreement (CECA), after seven rounds of rigorous consultation  in the past.

The announcement of the conclusion of this crucial trade pact, which covers goods, services, investment and other areas of cooperation, is expected to be made during Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh's stay in the Malaysian capital.

India has already signed a free trade agreement (FTA) on goods with ASEAN and has also signed similar pacts with South Korea and Singapore. It has also just concluded CEPA negotiations with Japan, and once the CECA agreement with Malaysia is sealed, analysts feel India will see a real integration of its economy with East Asia.

Dr Singh will be given an official welcome with full state honours today. This reception will be followed by delegation-level talks and a signing of agreements. Dr Singh and his Malaysian counterpart Mohammad Najib Tun Abdul Razak will also address a joint press conference.

There is a strong economic underpinning to the relations between India and Malaysia.

Trade between the two nations has witnessed significant transformation, from roughly a billion dollars in 2001 to five billion dollars in 2005 and an expected ten billion dollars in 2010.

Trade between both countries temporarily dipped to 7.8 billion dollars in 2009 due to the global meltdown,but India and Malaysia expect bilateral trade to reach ten billion dollars by the end of 2010.

Over the last few years, Malaysia has seen 2.5 billion dollars worth of inbound investment from the Indian private sector. Big companies like Reliance, Larsen and Turbo, Biocon and Wipro Healthcare are investing majorly in Malaysia.

The two governments have nominated 18 prominent business personalities from each side for the event.

The Indian side includes Naina Lal Kidwai, Country Head, HSBC, A.M. Naik, CMD Larsen and Toubro and Malvinder Mohan Singh, Group Chairman, Fortis Healthcare.

Malaysia also sees India as a huge market for electronics, palm oil and other exports, and is hoping to get a share of the pie of the 500 billion dollar to one trillion dollars that India is planning to invest in the infrastructure sector. Manmohan Singh's visit to Malaysia is the first bilateral visit undertaken by an Indian Prime Minister in the last nine years.

ANI

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