India will seek to tap Malaysia’s well-known counter-terrorism capacities following Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to the Southeast Asian country.
The joint statement issued by the two governments talks of establishing a bilateral Joint Working Group on Counterterrorism “at an early date”.
Indian sources say there has been limited formal cooperation between the two because Malaysia has never experienced a major terrorist strike. Rohan Gunaratne, author of Inside Al Qaeda, however, says this is only because Malaysia’s Special Branch has had remarkable success in pre-empting such plots.
“The MSB numbers only a few thousand in size but is one of the two best counter-terrorism groups in Southeast Asia and among the best in the world,” he said.
Malaysia has also become a financial or logistics hub for many terrorist groups. Singh and his Malaysian counterpart Najib Tun Razak spoke of cooperating in fighting “all kinds of terrorism”. This reflects the sensitivities of Muslim-majority Malaysia, and that the country has been a centre not only for Islamicist terror but also Tamil and Sikh militancy.
Indian sources say that Malaysia’s success in defeating a guerrilla insurgency in the 1950s is also of interest to New Delhi.