Manmohan to launch 'Little India' in Malaysia trip

Last Updated: Mon, Oct 25, 2010 09:00 hrs

Kuala Lumpur, Oct 25 (IANS) Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will address business honchos during his visit to Malaysia later this week and also launch the 'Little India' business centre here.

Manmohan Singh's visit comes after his Malaysian counterpart Najib Tun Razak went to India in January, when they pledged to further boost the 53-year old ties of the two countries, The Star newspaper reported.

The joint Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) will not be signed during Singh's visit, but both leaders will make a declaration on the landmark trade pact that covers services, investments, customs and trade.

Singh will lead a 16-member delegation that includes Commerce Minister Anand Sharma and top corporate leaders.

Another highlight of his visit is the inaugural India-Malaysia CEO Forum, a proposal mooted by Najib in New Delhi. Both leaders are scheduled to speak at the event.

Indian High Commissioner to Malaysia Vijay Gokhale said Singh's visit was a clear sign of the priority accorded to Malaysia.

'The two PMs will seek ways to take the relationship forward as they did in Delhi. Our relationship is a work in progress,' he said.

India was Malaysia's 12th largest import source and 11th largest export destination last year, with bilateral trade reaching $7.3 billion.

The bulk of the trade is in Malaysia's favour with exports accounting for $5 billion.

'The forum is expected to come up with a set of recommendations for both PMs to act on,' said Gokhale.

Singh will also deliver the Khazanah Global Lecture 2010.

Malaysian High Commissioner to India Tan Seng Sung said memorandum of understandings (MoUs) will be signed on tourism, culture and traditional medicine.

Malaysia is home to 2.1 million ethnic Indians, one of the largst Indian diaspora. Singh will witness a progressive Indian diaspora, the official Bernama news agency reported.

Singh's launch of renovated 'Little India' business area in Brickfields locality here with Najib is a recognition accorded to Malaysians of Indian origin.

Malaysia National Sikhs Movement (GerakSikh) president G. Darshan Singh, who handed over his book titled 'Sikh Community of Malaysia' to Manmohan Singh earlier this year in New Delhi, said the Indian prime minister was impressed with Malaysia and the Indians here.

He said the Indian leader took great interest to find out about Sikhs and other Indians in Malaysia, and was pleased with Malaysia's achievements and the Sikh community's contribution to the country. Malaysia is home to over 100,000 Sikhs.