Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in the Malaysian capital on Saturday for two key regional summits and bilateral talks aimed at boosting cooperation in areas as diverse as security and investment for big-ticket infrastructure projects.
Malaysia has put in place extraordinary security measures after a leaked police memo warned 10 suicide bombers had entered Kuala Lumpur ahead of the ASEAN-India Summit on Saturday and the East Asia Summit on Sunday. About 4,500 security personnel have been deployed or are on standby in the city.
Modi arrived in his special aircraft at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport shortly before dawn (4.15 am IST) and was received by high commissioner TS Tirumurti.
“Reached Kuala Lumpur. Today’s programmes include ASEAN Business & Investment Summit, 13th ASEAN-India Summit & one-to-one meetings,” the Prime Minister’s official Twitter handle said.
Large groups of people of Indian origin and expatriates greeted Modi both outside the airport and at the Renaissance Hotel where he is staying. Several of them had placards and banners.
The crowd outside the hotel cheered and waved Indian flags as the Prime Minister’s motorcade rolled in. Many in the crowd shouted “Modi Modi” and “Vande Mataram”. The Prime Minister, flanked by his security detail, greeted the people and waved to them.
Malaysia is home to some two million people of Indian origin. Though many of them are second or third generation Malaysians, they retain close ties with India.
As with Modi’s participation in the recent G20 Summit in Turkey, the discussions at the two summits in Kuala Lumpur are expected to be dominated by terrorism in the wake of the devastating Paris attacks that killed more than 130 and Friday’s storming of a hotel by terrorists in Mali, where 20 Indians had a narrow escape.
The ASEAN’s usual focus on economic issues too has been overshadowed by global efforts to combat the IS.
Ahead of his other engagements on Saturday, Modi will meet his Chinese counterpart Li Kequiang.
Modi will then make a special address at the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit. This will be followed by a lunched hosted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The 13th ASEAN-India Summit will be held on Saturday afternoon. Ahead of his arrival, Modi said in a post on his Facebook page: “Robust India-ASEAN ties will give great impetus to our collective dream of making this century an ‘Asian Century’.”
The day will be capped by a dinner hosted by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.
During his four-day two-nation trip, Modi will also travel on Monday to Singapore, where a number of important agreements are likely to be signed.
Modi has said his visits to both countries are focused on strengthening economic ties and security cooperation.