(Eagle News) – Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte and Indian President Ram Nath Kovind, signed four bilateral agreements covering maritime domain, security, tourism, science and technology, and culture on Friday, October 16, during the five-day state visit in the country of the Indian leader.
The state visit of the 74-year old Indian President was significant as the Philippines and India celebrated 70 years of diplomatic relations.
Kovind said that the signed bilateral agreements “would further intensify” cooperation between the two countries.
-Researching ancient PHL-India links-
“We have decided to explore both our common future through cooperation in space as well as the past through research of the history of our civilization and commonalities in our culture and tradition,” he said.
In fact, he said that his country is looking forward to receiving experts from the Philippines “to research and document our ancient links.”
“Therefore, my visit to this beautiful country is quite aptly captioned as, ‘Philippines and India @ 70: Ushering infinite possibilities,'” President Kovind noted.
“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 said.
The Indian leader noted that both the Philippines and India had been victims of terrorism, and so it would be best for the two countries to work closely together to “defeat and eliminate terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.”
Presidents Duterte and Kovind also discussed issues related to “the use of technology to ensure good governance and tackle corruption and provide quality and affordable healthcare to our people.”
“In all these areas, we are cooperating one way or the other and the potential for this is enormous. There is immense potential to further deepen the Philippines-India economic ties,” he said.
For his part, President Duterte said that he and President Kovind “committed to further build a more dynamic and forward-looking relationship between the Philippines and India.”
-Defense capability upgrade to fight terrorism-
“I welcomed India’s role in the defense capability upgrade program against the backdrop of our growing security cooperation,” Duterte said.
He and Kovind agreed “to fight terrorism and violent extremism and other transboundary threats.”
“I also took the opportunity to thank India for helping us rebuild Marawi without precondition, delay or hesitation,” he said.
-Advancing rule of law in maritime domains-
Philippines and India also agreed to “advance the rule of law in our maritime domains” as they affirmed their “shared interest to protect our maritime commons.”
Both countries are “strategically located in the Pacific and Indian Oceans”
-Strengthening economic ties-
The two leaders also welcomed the “steady rise of our trade and investment exchanges, while recognizing the need to further strengthen our economic ties.”
President Duterte also noted how the Philippines and India are at the 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. As it has been for centuries, the linkages between our peoples remain [the] strong knot that ties our countries together,” he said.