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India, Malaysia Hold Defence Talks

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, June 7 (UNI) Indian assistance in securing the Malacca Straits for global maritime trade figured prominently in talks here today between visiting Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Dato Sri Mohammad Najib Tun Haji Abdul Razak and Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

On a weeklong visit to India, Dato Razak held a one-to-one meeting with Minister Mukherjee which was followed by delegation- level talks between the two countries.

Consolidation and strengthening of military-to-military ties between India and Malaysia to boost bilateral defence cooperation came up for discussion, said an official spokesman.

India has supported the tri-nation security initiative to enforce ''compulsory pilotage'' of the Malacca Straits -- through which almost almost half the global maritime trade passes. The initiative -- mooted by Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore -- seeks to safeguard shipping through the narrow channel against sea piracy and feared maritime terrorism.

During talks today, Minister Mukherjee reiterated India's willingness to assist in the project and share its expertise in maritime security with nations of the region.

Dato Razak -- here along with a high-powered delegation at the invitation of Defence Minister Mukherjee -- will also tour Mumbai, Nasik and Bangalore visiting important defence establishments -- like Bharat Electronics Limited, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and Indian Space Research Organisation -- showcasing India's techonological leap in building weapons systems.

Indo-Malaysian cooperation in the field of defence was formalised by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Defence Cooperation between the two countries in 1993. The primary areas of cooperation so far have been in the field training exchanges, visits between officers of their respective Armed Forces and visits of naval ships to each other's ports.

India has been a regular participant in the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA) exhibition held in Malaysia which has also participated in the DefExpo in New Delhi.


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