Najib views India visit as very successful

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak described his visit to India as highly successful and had re-synergised the 60-year diplomatic relations between the two countries.

"I am very satisfied with this visit, I see an evolution to this relationship from when it began and now diversified from being one, two to multifaceted and multidimensional..more strategic and comprehensive," he said.

He said this at a media conference at the end of his six-day visit to India, which began on March 30 in Chennai.

The prime minister said he and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi concurred that relations between the two countries were at the highest level in history and both of them were bullish that such ties would be further strengthened.

He said investments totaling US$36 billion (RM158.4 billion), including US$32 billion in Malaysia through 31 memoranda of understanding that were signed during his visit reflected the confidence of Modi's government and prominent Indian companies in Malaysia's investment and economic conduciveness.

"This visit evidently shows commitment by both countries to strengthen and move their cooperation to a higher level. Hopefully henceforth, it will provide the momentum for greater cooperation between Malaysia and India," he said.

On other factors influencing such significant undertaking, he cited Modi's efforts to revamp India's economy and his desire for the companies here that mainly depended on local investment, to come out and venture into foreign investment.

At the same time, Najib said, Malaysia did not just want to bring home investments from India but was also ready to engage Indian companies in projects in Malaysia.

"We want India to buy more palm oil from Malaysia; and we will begin negotiations with Ircon (railway company) which wants to be involved in the Seremban-Port Klang by-pass railway project," he said.

He said India had also agreed to increase the number of seats by 1,861 weekly for flights to Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad, and discussions would be held to increase the weekly capacity to 40,000 from 20,000 presently.

Najib said when asked on the difference between Malaysia's investments with China, and with India, that projects it engaged with the former were immediate, for example, construction of the East Coast Rail Line which begins in July.

He said companies from India were involved in long term projects such as the Carey Island port project and integrated maritime city in Selangor worth about US$32 billion, "which would take time".

Najib was also asked if Modi, with whom he had a good relationship, gave him inspiration and whether he had sought advice in regard to the accomplished prime minister's major election victory in several states recently.

"We have not appointed Prime Minister Modi (as advisor) ... I can talk to him, about how he did it, sure he will share with me some of his secrets," he said in jest.

He also said Tourism Malaysia director-general Datuk Seri Mirza Mohammad Taiyab had been appointed as 'point man' to facilitate certain procedures pertaining to tax exemption and other incentives for Indian film producing companies that chose Malaysia as a location for their movies, production, technical and editing processes.

"We will benefit in the aspect of tourism if they choose Malaysia for their filming location, and with their lead actors coming to Malaysia, said Najib who met with famous Tamil actor Rajnikanth in Chennai on Friday. — Bernama