MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines and India have agreed to boost their cooperation in maritime security and defense modernization, as well as fighting terrorism, violent extremism and other threats.
“We agreed also to continue working together to fight terrorism and violent extremism and other transboundary threats,” President Rodrigo Duterte said following a bilateral meeting with visiting Indian President Ram Nath Kovind.
The Chief Executive also thanked India for its contributions to the Philippines’ defense modernization during the courtesy call of Kovind in Malacañang on Friday afternoon.
“I welcomed India’s role in the defense capability upgrade program against the backdrop of our growing security cooperation,” Mr. Duterte said.
Kovind agreed with him, saying India will participate in the Philippines’ defense modernization and infrastructure development.
“India is also keen to participate in infrastructure development as well as in defense modernization of the Philippines. In both these areas, Indian companies have made their mark and attend global reputation,” he said in his own statement.
Kovind marked the second day of his five-day state visit to the Philippines with a courtesy call and a bilateral meeting with Mr. Duterte. He is scheduled to unveil a bust of Mahatma Gandhi during his stay here.
His visit marks 70 years of diplomatic ties between the two nations. Kovind also invited Mr. Duterte to visit India “at a mutually convenient date.”
Following the bilateral talks, the two leaders witnessed the exchange of four agreements signed between Indian and Philippine officials.
These include a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Department of Tourism and India’s Ministry of Tourism on tourism cooperation; a program of cooperation for 2019 to 2022 between the Department of Science and Technology and its Indian counterpart; an MOU between the Philippine Coast Guard and the Indian Navy on improving maritime security through sharing of information on nonmilitary and nongovernment shipping vessels; and a cultural exchange program between India and the Philippines from 2019 to 2023.
In his statement after the bilateral meeting, Mr. Duterte recognized the need to boost economic ties with India through improved trade and investment exchanges.
“The Philippines and India are at the front—forefront of the global IT and BPO industries. This is a shared distinction that encourages us to cooperate more so that we can complement each other’s strengths,” he said.
He also thanked India for helping rebuild Marawi City following the 2017 siege that leveled the city, “without precondition, delay or hesitation.”