Monday, January 7, 2008

India-Malaysia defence and economic cooperation

India to train Malaysians to fly Russian jets: minister
5 hours ago

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) — India will train Malaysian pilots to fly Russian fighter jets as part of a pact to upgrade defence cooperation, Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony said Monday.

In talks with Malaysian Defence Minister Najib Razak, they also agreed to hold joint military exercises and strengthen joint efforts to combat regional terrorism.
Antony said the Indian air force and private aircraft manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. would train Malaysian pilots and technicians on the operation and maintenance of Russian Sukhoi 30-MKM fighter jets.

"As part of the joint efforts of the two sides to intensify our bilateral defence cooperation, the Indian air force ... (will) undertake the training of Royal Malaysian air force pilots and technicians," he said in a statement.

Malaysia signed a deal with Russia in 2003 to purchase 18 Sukhoi 30-MKM aircraft. Six of the jets are currently in service, and the pilots have been trained in Russia, according to the defence ministry.

Antony, who is on a three-day visit to Malaysia, said that India and Malaysia had a shared interest in countering terrorism and the spread of weapons of mass destruction, and in protecting maritime traffic.

In recent years, India and Malaysia have developed a strong bilateral relationship encompassing trade, education, diplomacy and defence.

Malaysia, India to strengthen military training co-op 2008-01-07 18:31:28

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- Malaysia and India will step up their cooperation in military trainings, especially those related to the Russian-made fighter jets recently acquired by Malaysia, Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak said here on Monday.

Najib, who is also Malaysia's Defense Minister, made this remark at a press conference after he held talks with visiting Indian Defense Minister A.K. Anthony.
Malaysia and India agreed to pick up cooperation in military training when Najib visited India in June 2006. Najib said that there were 55 Malaysian military personnel undertaking training in India currently.

The next batch of 47 officers and technicians were to depart for India in March this year, he added.

The Malaysian and Indian defense ministries signed a protocol at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace exhibition 2007, which was held in December last year at Malaysia's northern resort island of Langkawi.

Under the protocol, India would send some 40 officers, pilots and engineering officers to the airforce base in Gong Kedak in Malaysia's northern state of Terengganu, Najib said.

Malaysia bought 18 jet fighters from Russia in 2003, and the first two were delivered in last May. While the Indian airforce reportedly has been using the fighter jets since 2002.

Najib and Anthony reportedly also discussed the security issue in the Straits of Malacca. Anthony agreed that the primary responsibility of the straits was with the littoral states and India respected the principle.

Anthony arrived here on Sunday for a three-day visit to Malaysia to reciprocate the visit by Najib to India in 2006.

Malaysia, India Want FTA Deal Signed As Soon As Possible

PUTRAJAYA, Jan 7 (Bernama) -- Malaysia and India are hoping to sign their Free Trade Agreement (FTA) as soon as possible, Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said here Monday.

The Ministry of International Trade and Industry has been negotiating the deal. "We hope to conclude all matters in the fastest time possible," Syed Hamid told reporters after receiving a courtesy call from visiting Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony at Wisma Putra.

Trade between the two nations increased to some US8 billion last year.

"Both parties want the FTA signed as soon as possible," Syed Hamid said, adding that Malaysia also hoped that India would sign a similar FTA with Asean to further enhance ties between the ten Asean member states and India.

"So far we have cleared all issues as regards to the FTA between Asean and India. The only outstanding issue, I think, is on palm oil. We hope this too can be concluded in the near future," he added.

On another matter, the Foreign Minister said New Delhi also wanted to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Malaysia in view of the huge number of Indians working here.

"We are looking into it and the Human Resources Ministry is handling the matter. The government has in principle agreed to the MoU. They (the Indian government) wants it expedited."

"I have also explained to them that we want a proper system in bringing these foreign workers as we already have about two million foreign labour here. They understand our situation and hope that we could streamline the process," he added.


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