India, Malaysia Announce Comprehensive Economic Pact

By Minu Jain

Kuala Lumpur, Oct 27 (IANS) India and Malaysia Wednesday announced completion of negotiations on the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA), saying it will significantly transform their bilateral engagement.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Malaysian counterpart Najib Tun Razak said the agreement will be signed by Jan 31, 2011, and come into force July 1.

Razak said the two countries had concluded "very productive" bilateral discussions.

He told a joint news conference that when he visited New Delhi in January this year, his desire was to make Manmohan Singh's return trip "equally significant and historic".

He called CECA a corner stone of India-Malaysia relations and said this will unleash tremendous potential in trade, investment and other economic linkages.

The Malaysian leader described himself as a great admirer of Manmohan Singh for "transforming India into an economic powerhouse".

He said they also discussed military cooperation, maritime security, terrorism, higher education, and visa issues.

Manmohan Singh said his discussions in Malaysia had laid the basis for a multifaceted partnership between the two countries.

He said CECA "will transform our economic engagement in a very substantive way".

India and Malaysia also signed six agreements. These included, one on traditional medicine, cooperation in services, cooperation in tourism and a cultural exchange programme.

Manmohan Singh arrived here Tuesday on the second leg of a three nation Asia tour that has already taken him to Japan. He leaves here Thursday for Vietnam, where he will take part in the India-ASEAN Summit and the East Asia Summit.


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