NEW DELHI : The five-day state visit of Malaysian Prime Minister Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak, his third to India as Prime Minister, will see both sides discuss projects worth $5 billion as well as hold discussions on infrastructure,
defence cooperation, air services arrangements, tourism and cultural relations.
Prime Minister Najib, who arrived in Chennai earlier in the day, said in his blog that the friendship between India and Malaysia extends beyond the formalities.
"My visit to India couldn't have come at a more appropriate time. Our ties with India go way back. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Malaysia-India diplomatic relations, therefore marking the significance of the friendship between the two nations.
"Uniquely, India has contributed to the demographics of the Malaysia we see today. The Indian community makes up the third largest ethnic group in Malaysia and many Indian Malaysians still have family relations in India. We are quite literally connected to each other," he said in an entry on his blog www.najibrazak.com.
According to a Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement in Malaysia, the issues expected to be discussed during the bilateral meeting between the two sides include trade and investment, infrastructure projects, defence cooperation, air services arrangements, tourism and culture relations as well as issues of mutual concern on regional and international cooperation. Several Government-to-Government memoranda of understanding and documents are set to be signed and exchanged during the visit. The exchange of the documents will be witnessed by both Prime Minister Najib and Prime Minister Narendra Modi
At a briefing in New Delhi, the Ministry of External Affairs said that the Malaysian Prime Minister's visit follows the highly successful visit of Prime Minister Modi to Malaysia in November 2015.
Jaideep Mazumdar, Joint Secretary (South) in the MEA, said business deals will be discussed during the visit. "In all, the projects that will be under the discussion during the entire visit could amount to $5 billion."
Prime Minister Najib is visiting India between March 30-April 4 and is accompanied by his spouse Rosmah Mansour.
Besides the bilateral talks, the Malaysian Prime Minister will be holding dialogue sessions with leaders and captains of industries from major business sectors in India. He is also expected to attend a business luncheon and the 7th Global Science and Innovation Advisory Council Meeting (GSIAC).
In Chennai, his programme includes official reception hosted by the Acting Governor of Tamil Nadu, Vidhyasagar Rao and a meeting with the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Edappadi Palaniswami. He will also hold a dialogue session with the Malaysian community, including the students, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement said.
He will travel to Jaipur later to oversee Malaysia's participation in India's infrastructure projects. He is scheduled to meet with the Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Vasundhara Raje, and attend a high level discussion on the progress of Malaysian companies in infrastructure projects in Jaipur.
On the last day of the visit, the Prime Minister will also officiate the newly completed complex of the High Commission of Malaysia in New Delhi.
On the Jaipur leg of his visit, the MEA official said, "Malaysia has bid for several roads projects in Rajasthan totally about $1.2 to $1.4 billion."
Calling the bilateral relations as 'quite significant economic relations', Jaideep said, "The Malaysian investment to India are to the tune of about $6 billion and additional $ 6 billion worth of projects have been executed in India. Our own investment in Malaysia are about $ 2.5 billion."
Prime Minister Najib is accompanied by a large business delegation consisting of many of the top companies and businessmen of Malaysia.
Calling the cooperation between the two countries on counter-terrorism as "robust", Mazumdar said that a very real time exchange of information happens between the agencies on both sides.
Malaysia is home to 2.7 million people of Indian origin with a large majority of Tamil origin.
The Malaysian Prime Minister would arrive in Delhi on Friday and would be accorded a ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Saturday.
In his blog, Prime Minister Najib said that since his last visit to India in 2010, Malaysia-India relations has flourished and blossomed.
"We have established the Malaysia-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) and India is among Malaysia's largest trading partners and largest export destination. We have also established partnerships in terms of defence cooperation, counter-terrorism, tourism and culture relations, IT and services as well as infrastructure projects," he said.
"I have mentioned previously that innovation is key to success and with India's booming business sector and its innovative nature, I look forward to exploring new opportunities in India. We must always have one eye on the future!
He also said that he looks forward to meeting Prime Minister Modi again. "I hope to exchange ideas and have fruitful discussions with Prime Minister Modi to further strengthen our bilateral ties. Insya-Allah," he wrote.
His maiden visit to India was in January 2010 and again in December 2012 to attend the Asean-India Commemorative Summit.