New Delhi, External Affairs Minister (EAM) Dr. S. Jaishankar visited the Philippines from February 13-15. This was his first visit to the Philippines as External Affairs Minister.
EAM held a bilateral meeting with his counterpart Teodoro L. Locsin Jr., Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines. The two Ministers reviewed developments in bilateral relations since the meeting of the Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation that they co-chaired in virtual format in November 2020. They also discussed the future trajectory of the wide-ranging engagement between the two countries. The two Ministers also had an in-depth exchange of views on regional and international issues of mutual interest.
The Ministers welcomed recent trends in bilateral ties that have contributed to deepening of mutually beneficial cooperation and the expansion to newer areas based on shared interests in line with the vision of the leadership of both countries. They agreed to further work towards strengthening engagement in counter-terrorism and defence and maritime security, covering defence capabilities as well as military training and capacity building.
In light of the complementarities between two countries as fast growing market economies, and the shared interest in diversifying supply chains, they agreed to make efforts to further expand economic cooperation as well as trade and investment links in a range of areas such as agriculture, infrastructure, health and pharmaceuticals, tourism, ICT, and science & technology.
The Ministers also noted with satisfaction recent initiatives to step up cooperation in emerging areas such as fintech, blue economy, renewable energy, space, cyber security and traditional medicine.
To expand business, tourism and student exchange between the two countries, both sides agreed on the need for a simplified visa regime between India and the Philippines. EAM also sought the attention of the Philippine government to facilitate early return of Indian medical students to the Philippines.
Both Ministers agreed to coordinate closely at multilateral fora and reaffirmed their strong commitment to a multifaceted partnership that would facilitate the developmental aspirations and shared priorities of the two democracies in Indo-Pacific region.
During the visit, EAM also interacted with Delfin Lorenzana, Secretary of Defence, Carlos Domineguez III, Secretary of Finance and Dr William Dar, Secretary of Agriculture to discuss issues strengthening cooperation in Defence, Finance and Agriculture sectors respectively.
EAM interacted with a cross-section of the Indian Community in Manila. He appreciated their role in promoting friendship and amity between the people of two countries and urged them to continue to be a bridge between the people of India and the Philippines.