20 January, 2021

Foreign Malaisia

Palm oil greases some parts, but the Indo-Malaysian bilateral machine needs a full overhaul

Foreign Malaisia
Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee flew out of Kuala Lumpur last week with a mixed bag of results. He didn't get what he expected from his four-day visit, nor could he dispel the inherent suspicions about New Delhi's regional ambitions, despite its decision to exchange its role as the Soviet pointsman in Asia to that of a US satrap. Worse, the bilateral discussions didn't yield anything of tremendous significance, either for the present or even the future.

It's true innumerable MoUs (memoranda of understanding) were signed between Indian and Malaysian companies. But these mean nothing, unenforceable as the agreements are. This is especially true of Malaysia, which has perfected the art of signing MoUs with foreign countries, especially those in Africa, Central Asia, and the South Pacific. It initialled a whopping 600 MoUs with Papua New Guinea, almost all of which were not pursued. "One should not pay much attention to these MoUs," says former Malaysian ambassador to New Delhi Ben Haron dismissively.

Vajpayee arrived in Malaysia on Sunday (May 13) evening,...


To read this piece, and more such stories in India's most exciting and exacting magazine, plus get access to our 25-year archives goldmine, please subscribe.

In this article:

More from M.G.G. Pillai

Latest Magazine

January 25, 2021

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section