Image: India Malaysia bilateral trade 1998 to Jan-October 2013 – Source Indian High Commission
By Charles F. Moreira, Editor
What is the current state of trade and economic cooperation between Malaysia and India?
Well, “Malaysia is India’s gateway to Asean and beyond, leveraging on the strong links between the two countries, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak”, reported Bernama.com of 29 November 2017.
Najib said that since 1998, India has been Malaysia’s largest export destination in the South Asian region and over the last decade, trade has increased by more than four fold.
“India is currently Malaysia’s 10th-largest trading partner, our seventh-largest export destination and our 11th-largest source of imports,” Najib said in his keynote address at the Economic Times Asian Business Leaders’ Conclave in Kuala Lumpur.
India is also currently Malaysia’s 20th-largest investor, with total investment worth US$2.31 billion (RM9.45 billion), whilst Malaysia is ranked 21st-largest foreign investor in India and second-largest from ASEAN.
The strategic partnership reached in 2010 between Malaysia and India has built upon the traditionally close relationship between the two countries and has taken it to the next level by infusing it with even greater dynamism.
“Malaysian entrepreneurs and companies are now engaged in taking advantage of the huge economic and investment opportunities in India, particularly in infrastructure,” Najib said, adding that Malaysian companies are active in in the Indian states of Rajashtan, Telegana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
By Malaysia’s and India’s participation in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, both countries would be part of an area that contained nearly 50% of the world’s population and account for nearly 40% of the global trade once this massive trade pact is concluded.
“So, both countries are not just prepared, but also determined to take Asia to the globe,” Najib said.
Malaysia’s Prime Minister also commended the role played by Malaysian Indians as vital in building up the country, as they have always been at the forefront of governance, civil service, business, entertainment, education and food production. He added that without the contributions of the Malaysian Indians, Malaysia would not be what it is today, and they were the reason why it was so natural for Malaysia and India to forge ever closer and friendlier relations.
“The Malaysian Indians are a crucial part of our unique diversity, and their cultures and faiths help make up the rich and varied tapestry of our nation — many races and religions, but one Malaysia.
“Recognising their contributions, we launched the Malaysian Indian Blueprint in April this year, and I am confident that this 10-year plan will play a key role in empowering all sections of the Indian community in Malaysia,” Najib said in his keynote address.
The two-day conclave, organised by India-based The Economic Times, gathered together thought leaders and government and business leaders from all around Asia to further the cause of greater economic integration between emerging and leading countries in this region.
Since before the Christian era
Meanwhile, the High Commission of India, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s website describes India-Malaysia Economic and Commercial Relations as preceding the Christian era and over the past four decades, Indian industry, many through joint ventures, has been associated with Malaysia’s transformation from an exporter of primary products into an industrialised and broad-based economy.
“The first Indian joint venture, Godrej commenced operations in 1986, and in the seventies and early eighties Malaysia hosted the largest number of Indian joint ventures in any country. Indian companies present involvement in Malaysia is in palm oil refining, power, railways, information technology, bio-technology, manufacturing industrial goods., higher education, civil construction, and training. Spectacular progress of the Malaysian economy since the late eighties, the new self-confidence of Malaysian entrepreneurs, and the liberalization of the Indian economy since 1991 have triggered new dimensions in bilateral commercial and economic relations. India and Malaysia are mutually important economic partners. Malaysia is India’s second most important trading partner amongst the ASEAN countries and also India’s gateway to ASEAN and China. India is the largest trading partner for Malaysia in South Asia”, the High Commission wrote.
Founded in 1897 as a lock maker by Indian entrepreneur Ardeshir Godrej, Godrej today is an Indian conglomerate involved in aerospace, agriculture, appliances, audio-visual solutions, chemicals, construction, electrical and electronics, furniture, green building consultancy services, properties, materials handling, locks, electric motors, precision engineering, security solutions, process equipment, vending machines, tooling, production line equipment, storage solutions and infotech. In the consumer space, it’s involved in appliances, food & grocery, furniture, locks, home & personal care, security solutions, properties and other products.