NEW DELHI: With an eye on China, India and Malaysia shore up maritime cooperation and plan to hold joint naval exercise while emphasizing on freedom of navigation and over flight with an implicit reference to the South China Sea.
The two countries stated this in the joint declaration released following the meeting of Malaysian Prime Minister Mohammad Najib Tun Abdul Razak and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The two countries welcome the “field exercise” between the two countries. And further strengthening their defence cooperation Royal Malaysian Air Force and Indian Air Force (IAF) are working on the terms of reference for the setting up of the Aircraft Safety and Maintenance Forum for cooperation in training, maintenance, technical support and safety-related issues.
The IAF has already been training the Malaysian pilots.
Prime Minister Razak is in New Delhi as part of his six-day visit to India. India made a common cause with Malaysia, a country with a sizeable Muslim population, to counter radicalization and terrorism.
“I deeply appreciate our continuous cooperation with the Malaysian government in our joint anti-terrorism efforts. We live in a time and in a region where both conventional and non-conventional security threats are constantly on the rise,” Prime Minister Modi said while commending Razak’s leadership in countering radicalization in the entire region.
Malaysia will also be a participating member in the anti-terrorism conference that India intends to organise later this year as part of creating an alternate narrative of Islam through moderate clerics and scholars.
The joint declaration recognised terrorism as a serious threat to peace and stability in the region and made oblique reference to the “barbaric” terrorist attacks that India faced in 2016.
It also condemned countries supporting terrorism and glorifying terrorists hinting at Pakistan’s efforts to label slain Hizbul commander Burhan Wani as Kashmiri leader.
“They asserted that the fight against terrorism should not only seek to disrupt and eliminate terrorists, terror organisations and networks, but should also identify, hold accountable and take strong measures against States, which encourage, support and finance terrorism, provide sanctuary to terrorists and terror groups, and falsely extol their virtues. There should be no glorification of terrorists as martyrs,” the declaration said.