India-Malaysia Relations, Economy, Defence, Tourism and Diaspora/Cultural Relations

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India-Malaysia Relations

  • 1957: Established diplomatic relations with the Federation of Malaya
  • India PM visited Malaysia in October 2010.
  • The text of CECA has been agreed upon. Will be implemented for July 1,2011.
  • Collaboration in defence sector and infrastructure development.
  • To step up cabinet level exchanges in numerous areas
  • India-Malaysia would liberalize their respective investment regimes to facilitate greater foreign direct investment into each other՚s territory.
  • MoU on cooperation in the traditional systems of medicine makes India the second country with which Malaysia has inked such a pact.
  • MoU on Cooperation in the field of Tourism
  • MoU on cooperation in the field of IT & Services
  • Cultural Exchange Programme Agreement between CSIR and UNIK of Malaysia
  • To set up a joint working group on Counterterrorism


  • Economic and Commercial relations are emerging as the mainstay of the bilateral relationship
  • Malaysia is the second largest trading partner for India within ASEAN
  • India is the largest trading partner for Malaysia from among the countries of the South Asia, excluding China
  • CECA (likely to be asked)
  • Came into force on July 1,2011
  • India Malaysia CEOs forum launched
  • Bilateral trade
    • 2010: USD 8.94 bn
    • India՚s exports: USD 2.47 bn
    • India՚s imports: USD 6.47 bn
  • Expected to cross USD 10 bn in 2011 due to the implementation of CECA
  • 21st largest investor in India
  • Maxis Comm in Aircel, Axiata in IDEA, Khazanah in IDFC
  • Malaysian construction companies՚ largest presence outside Malaysia is in India
    • They have completed 52 construction projects worth USD 2.34 bn in India
    • Under partnership with Malaysian Airports, GMR completed airport in Hyderabad and Delhi
  • India is the 7th largest investor in Malaysia
  • Reliance, IRCON


  • 1993: MoU on defence cooperation
  • Malaysia-Indian Defence Cooperation meetings (MIDCOM) held regularly


India is the sixth largest source country for inbound tourism to Malaysia while Malaysia is the tenth largest for India

Diaspora/Cultural Relations

  • Malaysian students studying in India and vice versa
  • About 150,000 legally recruited Indian workers in Malaysia in both the skilled and semi-skilled category
  • Malaysia has one of the largest communities of PIOs in the world, numbering close to 2 million (7.1 % of Malaysian population)
    • Overwhelmingly Tamil speaking
    • Malaysian Indian Congress is the dominant political organisation of the PIOs
    • PIOs from Malaysia have been sending the largest contingents to the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas
  • Some important Malaysian Indians
    • Tony Fernandes: CEO of Air Asia
    • Ash Nair: Musician
    • Jaclyn Victor: Singer and actress


  • Unfair treatment of non-Muslims and non-Malays
    • Islam is the state religion. About 60 % of the people are Muslims
    • Lately, Malaysian government՚s stance with regard to constraining religious assertion has been against non-Muslims
  • Economic condition of many Indians is bad
    • They are not provided the support that is given to the Muslims and Malays by the government


See the MEA brief


  • Is the land bridge for India to connect with ASEAN countries
  • Discussed in detail in another note.

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