How India and Philippines are Strengthening Ties: Insights from Jaishankar
How India and Philippines are Strengthening Ties: Insights from Jaishankar

Manila: India's External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, currently visiting the Philippines, praised the increasingly close relationship between India and the Philippines during a joint press briefing with Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Enrique Manalo.

Highlighting the recent growth in ties, Jaishankar mentioned Prime Minister Modi's meeting with President Marcos during the India-ASEAN Summit last year. He expressed anticipation for his meeting with President Marcos later in the day to convey Modi's greetings.

Jaishankar emphasized the broadening engagement between the two nations, pointing out that bilateral trade had surpassed USD 3 billion in 2023 and was poised for further growth. He stressed that this closeness is evident across various sectors including trade, investment, health, food security, education, science and technology, defense, and maritime cooperation.

During discussions with Manalo, Jaishankar conveyed India's readiness to increase engagement with the Philippines, welcoming Manalo's proposals for easier visas, enhanced movement, more dialogues, and deeper cooperation.

The minister noted ongoing collaborations between India and the Philippines in agriculture, health, and capacity building, highlighting India's supply of rice to the Philippines as a sign of trust and comfort between the two nations.

Maritime cooperation was also emphasized, with Jaishankar underscoring the potential for collaboration between the two Indo-Pacific nations. He mentioned agreements signed last year on enhanced maritime cooperation and white shipping, noting the presence of an Indian Coast Guard vessel currently in Manila.

Jaishankar's visit to the Philippines follows his trip to Singapore, where he discussed deepening engagement in areas such as fintech, digitalization, the green economy, skills development, and food security with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong.

In addition to meetings with Singaporean leaders, Jaishankar also engaged with Teo Chee Hean, Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security, and Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, discussing bilateral, regional, and global issues of mutual interest.

During his visit to Singapore, Jaishankar also paid homage to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose at the INA marker.

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