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02 October 2023

Modi seeks to cement ties with Malaysia in brief visit

Photo: AP


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks Thursday with new Malaysian leader Mahathir Mohamad in a brief visit aimed at bolstering bilateral ties.

Modi flew in from Indonesia for the second leg of his Southeast Asian tour and met Mahathir, the world’s oldest leader at 92, at the government administrative capital of Putrajaya.

Modi tweeted: “I thank him for the warm welcome. We had productive discussions on further cementing India-Malaysia ties.”

India is Malaysia’s largest trading partner in South Asia, with total trade amounting to 61.43 billion ringgit ($15.4 billion) in 2017.

Modi was the third foreign leader, after the Singapore premier and Brunei’s sultan, to meet Mahathir since his alliance’s stunning victory in May 9 national polls. The victory led to a change of power for the first time since Malaysia’s independence from Britain in 1957.

Mahathir was premier for 22 years until 2003, but emerged from retirement amid anger over a massive corruption scandal involving former leader Najib Razak.

Modi left later Thursday for Singapore, where he is expected to speak at a regional security conference.