India and Malaysia will announce firming up of a bilateral trade-opening pact and are expected to sign five other deals on Wednesday when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh holds talks with his counterpart Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak on a wide range of issues aimed at boosting ties.
After their talks, the two leaders will sign a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) which will say that the pact will be formally signed in January next year and will come into force from July next year, sources said in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday.
The agreement, which will lead to slashing of tariffs and ensure freer movement of investment, services and customs, will not be signed during Singh's three-day visit to Kuala Lumpur that began on Tuesday as the pact has to go through "legal scrubbing".
The two sides are also expected to sign five other agreements in areas including science and technology, IT, culture and tourism after the talks between Singh and Razak.
Singh arrived in Kuala Lumpur this evening to a rousing welcome with three Malaysian Ministers – Deputy Foreign Minister Kohilan Pillay (standing in for Foreign Minister who is on tour), Human Resources Minister S Subramaniam and MoS in the PMO Dato Devaman – receiving him at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
He was accorded a red-carpet welcome and Guard of Honour at the Airport.
Singh is accompanied by his wife Gursharan Kaur and a high-level delegation, including Commerce Minister Anand Sharma.
The Prime Minister embarked on the Malaysian visit after concluding a productive tour of Japan where the two sides announced the firming up of Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, which will open trade between the two countries and slash taxes up to 94 per cent over the next decade.
Singh had a tight schedule in Tokyo which included talks with his Japanese counterpart Naoto Kan, leaders from business and politics during which they discussed ways to further improve their ties.
Singh said "sky is the limit" for developing Japan-India relations, a proposition which is close to his heart.
Summing up Singh's Japan visit, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said the two Prime Ministers had "comprehensive" discussions and felt the need for developing all encompassing relations covering political, economy and security aspects.