MANILA - The Philippines and India agreed Friday to help each other fight the common challenge of terrorism during the state visit of Indian President Ram Nath Kovind.
President Rodrigo Duterte, who hosted Kovind in Malacañang, said Manila and New Delhi have agreed to continue efforts against extremism.
“We agreed also to continue working together to fight terrorism and violent extremism and other transboundary threats,” Duterte said.
The Philippine leader added that India, being a “natural partner of the Philippines,” makes it “necessary” to enhance Manila’s ties with New Delhi.
“In this period of interdependence and geopolitical shifts, an open, balanced, and pragmatic stance is the most reasonable and least costly path to peace and prosperity for all,” he said.
Kovind, on the other hand, recognized that both Manila and New Delhi have been “victims of terrorism” as he called on Duterte for further security cooperation.
“Both of our countries have been victims of terrorism. As you know, India has been the target of cross-border terrorism for decades. They committed to work closely to defeat and eliminate terrorism in all its forms and manifestations,” Kovind said.
“As two vibrant democracies that believe in a rules-based international order, respect for international law and sovereign equality of nations, the Philippines and India are natural partners in the pursuit of their respective national development and security objectives,” he added.
The two leaders also witnessed the signing of 4 agreements in the fields of tourism, maritime security cooperation, science and technology, and cultural exchange, namely:
- A memorandum of understanding on tourism cooperation
- A program of cooperation in the fields of Science and Technology for 2019-2022
- A memorandum of understanding between the Philippine Coast Guard and the Indian Navy on sharing of information on shipping vessels between the Philippines and India
- A cultural exchange program for the years 2019-2023
Kovind noted that the Philippines is gaining the attention of the Indian corporate sector particularly in the fields of technology, health, and agricultural development.
“There is immense potential to further deepen the Philippines-India economic ties,” he said.
“The Philippines is emerging as an important focus country for India’s corporate sector,” he added.
Kovind, who arrived in Manila on Thursday, is the third Indian president to visit the Philippines since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the 2 countries in 1949. The last was Abdul Kalam in 2006.
During his stay in the Philippines, Kovind will also grace a business summit with Filipino and Indian traders, and meet with Filipino beneficiaries of the Mahaveer Philippine Foundation, which provides prosthetic legs designed by Indian sculptor Ram Chander Sharma.
He will also meet with the Indian community in Taguig City before flying back home.
India was the 15th trading partner of the Philippines last year with trade valued at P109.9 billion.