Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday met his Malaysian counterpart Mahathir Mohamad on the sidelines of the 5th East Economic Forum in Russia's Far Eastern city and discussed issues, including the extradition of controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, who is currently residing in the Southeast Asian country.
Addressing the media after the bilateral meeting between Modi and Mahathir, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said, "Prime Minister Modi raised the issue of Zakir Naik's extradition. Both the parties have decided that our officials will stay in contact regarding the matter and it is an important issue for us."
Naik, who is wanted in India, was granted permanent residency in Malaysia by the previous government. He is living in the country from the last three years.
He is facing charges of inciting communal disharmony and committing unlawful activities in India. He is also facing probe both in India and Bangladesh in connection with the terror attack at the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka on July 2016.
India had said it has made a formal request to Malaysia and will continue to pursue his extradition.
Meanwhile, the two leaders also discussed the multiple layers of India-Malaysian bilateral relationship and ways to diversify cooperation for the benefit of people in both countries.
Modi was one among the earliest leaders who had called on Mahathir in Kuala Lumpur soon after last year's elections.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister today described that the meeting with his Malaysian counterpart was a very historic one and India was looking forward to working closely with Malaysia, Gokhale noted.
The Malaysian Prime Minister also acknowledged that there was a growing trade between the two countries. In that context, Mahathir also mentioned that Malaysia would also consider importing more from India so that the country's exports to Malaysia grows, the foreign secretary said in the briefing.
The two sides also discussed internal matters of the countries. Modi explained to his counterpart, the rationale behind the reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir in terms of both giving effective governance and delivering socio-economic justice in the region.
The leaders also focused on terrorism and how to cope with the growing global threat. In the meeting, the Malaysian Prime Minister acknowledged that terrorism was a global problem and unequivocally expressed that terrorism in any form is something that Malaysia is against, Gokhale said.
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