Malaysia is too much caught in its domestic issues to help India strategically
Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur for a short period en route to Singapore from Indonesia. He met Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, the 92-year-old leader who came to power after a historic election earlier this month, and spoke on strengthening the strategic partnership between India and Malaysia. They also spoke on issues like trade and investment.
Malaysia is currently going through a transition even if Mohamad stormed to power defeating the tainted incumbent prime minister Najib Razak. There is an uncertainly within the new coalition which has come to power replacing a party which was ruling for six decades. Corruption is another massive issue which has hit Malaysia's politics at the moment and the new government is busy setting up things in the domestic sector.
The new government though has promised to review the large-scale Chinese investment in Malaysia but observers feel the Mohamad will not take any drastic measure to turn things upside down as that could hit an already tricky situation in Malaysia and eventually the political fortunes of the new coalition.
Moreover, going by Mohamad's own record in the past, he had played a significant role in making a breakthrough in Kuala Lumpur's relations with Beijing in the mid-1980s when he was the prime minister and it will be inapt to expect the man turning anti-China just because he wants to make a difference with the previous Razak government.
The Indian establishment will do better by not expecting too much from Malaysia at the moment, especially on its plan to strengthen a platform to contain China's regional ambitions in South and Southeast Asia. Indonesia still nurtures a plan to look beyond its shores to grow a maritime force which brings it closer to India's maritime ambitions but the Malaysians are too much caught up with their domestic concerns at the moment.
So, let's look forward to Singapore.