Modi to make brief stopover to meet Malaysian PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. AP/PTI File Photo

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will briefly visit Kuala Lumpur on Thursday to meet his new counterpart in Malaysia, Mahathir Mohammad.

Modi will have a brief stopover at Kuala Lumpur while flying from Jakarta to Singapore. He will meet Mohammad, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Monday.

Mahathir is a veteran of the South East Asian nation's politics and led the nation as prime minister for 22 years from 1981 to 2003. He recently came out of retirement and was elected to take over the office of the prime minister again, dislodging his former protege Najib Razak.

He led Pakatan Harapan alliance of parties to victory, ending the 61-year-long rule of Barisan Nasional.

Earlier this month, Modi congratulated Mahathir after the 92-year-old became the world's oldest elected head of the government.

He is now going to be the third foreign leader and the first from outside the Southeast Asian region to meet the new prime minister of Malaysia.

His move to visit Kuala Lumpur to meet Mohammad is apparently aimed at reaching out to the new dispensation in the Southeast Asian nation early.

The two leaders are likely to review the relations between India and Malaysia and explore ways to give a fillip to bilateral trade, apart from expanding cooperation in maritime security and defence.

Modi will leave for Jakarta on Tuesday for his maiden visit to Indonesia. He will meet and hold talks with Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Wednesday. He will then leave Jakarta for Singapore on Thursday and have a brief stopover in Kuala Lumpur.

Modi will deliver the keynote address at the 17th Shangri-la Dialogue – an inter-governmental security forum held in Singapore every year – on June 1. He will also hold talks with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

“Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, three countries in Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), are Strategic Partners of India. (The) Government of India attaches high importance to its relations with the ASEAN region and is committed to deepening its relationship with individual ASEAN member states, within the framework of the government’s Act East Policy,” the MEA said in a press release issued on Monday.

“The visit would enable the leaders to discuss bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest,” the MEA added.

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Modi to make brief stopover to meet Malaysian PM

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