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India, Malaysia ink extradition pact
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News service

New Delhi, January 20
India and Malaysia today signed an extradition treaty and two other accords as Malaysian Prime Minister Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak strongly pitched for the early conclusion of a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement (CECA) between the two countries.

The extradition treaty will enable India to seek the transfer from Malaysia of Indians who commit crime on the Indian soil and take refuge in the South East Asian nation. Notably, Bofors accused Ottavio Quattrocchi had also escaped to Malaysia in 2006. The Malaysian authorities had apparently refused to extradite him to India in the absence of an extradition treaty between the two countries.

A Malaysia-India capital market collaborative agreement was signed between the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and the Security Commission of Malaysia. The third agreement was in the field of higher education.

The accords between the two countries were inked after talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Malaysian leader at the Hyderabad House here. The two leaders are understood to have discussed a wide range of issues, including bilateral ties as well as international developments. India’s ties with ASEAN were also discussed at length.

With bilateral trade exceeding $10.5 billion in 2008-09, Malaysia is India’s second largest trading partner (after Singapore) among the 10 ASEAN members. Infrastructure, IT, biotechnology, energy and education have emerged as promising areas of cooperation between the two countries.

The Malaysian leader was accorded a ceremonial welcome at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan this morning as he began the official leg of his five-day state visit to India. Razak called on President Pratibha Patil and conveyed the greetings of the people of Malaysia for India’s Republic Day function next week. He also met United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and External Affairs Minister SM Krishna. He is scheduled to hold talks with Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi at a meeting eagerly awaited in political and diplomatic circles.

Addressing captains of the Indian industry at a luncheon meeting, Najib said he desired the conclusion of the CECA by the end of this year so that the Indian PM could visit Malaysia to formally ink it. “On our part, we will do everything to fast-track negotiations for the purpose,” he said.

He said Malaysia proposed to deepen the people-to-people relationship by improving its visa regime to facilitate travel of businessmen and tourists to that country. He also called for improving connectivity through additional flights to either country and to elsewhere around the world.

He also assured Indian business leaders that he was taking back to his country their request for opening a commercial bank branch in Malaysia.



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