KUALA LUMPUR: Building on its redoubtable prowess in building infrastructure, Malaysia is poised to play a bigger plan in India’s ambitious plans to build smart cities and fast-track its urbanization process.
This was one of the key takeaways from the talks between India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak in Kuala Lumpur on November 23. Mr Razak responded enthusiastically to the Indian leader’s desire for enhanced participation by Malaysian companies in shoring up urban infrastructure in India.
The new understanding envisages regular exchanges between ministers dealing with infrastructure in both countries to take advantage of the opportunities opening up in investment and trade in each other’s country. Smart Cities has become a major plank of India’s foreign policy thrust, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking support of developed countries in his quest to transform the country’s urban infrastructure.
“I expressed our desire to see enhanced Malaysian participation in areas such as expansion and upgrading of infrastructure, Make in India and Smart Cities projects,” Mr Modi said. “Malaysian competence in infrastructure is well known. Malaysia has completed several important projects, including in the road sector, in India. We want to raise the level of Indian presence in the Malaysian economy,” he added.
Indian cities are facing a plethora of challenges from housing to infrastructure, sanitation, employment and public transport. To help address these issues, the government has shortlisted nearly 100 cities across the country as part of its Smart Cities project.
India and Malaysia also encouraged their public and private sector companies “to proactively look at large investment opportunities in each other’s country. “The two prime ministers welcomed the significant interest shown by Malaysian companies to partake in the business opportunities provided by India and their aspiration to invest in infrastructure projects”, the joint statement said.
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