Philippines, India agree to boost bilateral relations

India and the Philippines have agreed to further strengthen their bilateral partnership in areas including defence, maritimes, law enforcement, trade and investement.

The decision was made within the framework of the official visit to India by Philippine Secretary for Foreign Affairs Enrique Manalo from June 27-30.

Indian Minister of External Affairs Dr. S. Jaishankar and his Fillipo counterpart Manalo co-chaired the 5th meeting of their Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) in New Delhi on June 29.

In a joint statement issued after the meeting, the two sides agreed to upgraded official interaction among defense agencies, opening of the resident Defense Attaché office in Manila, considering India’s offer for concessional Line of Credit to meet Philippines’ defense requirements.

Acknowledging the growing importance of the maritime sector for both countries, they welcomed the bilateral Maritime Dialogue and the increased cooperation on hydrography.

They also look forward to the signing of the MoU on Enhanced Maritime Cooperation between the Indian Coast Guard and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

On law enforcement cooperation, they encouraged early negotiations for a bilateral Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty on Criminal Matters and a Treaty on Transfer of Sentenced Persons. The first round of talks will be held in the Philippines in this August.

According to the joint statement, the two sides recognised terrorism and transnational crimes as common security threats, The two ministers directed that the 2nd Joint Working Group (JWG) on Counter-Terrorism meet in the Philippines in 2023 and discuss forging a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Preventing and Combating Terrorism and Transnational Crime.

On trade and investment, they expressed their satisfaction at the growing pace of bilateral trade, which had for the first time crossed 3 billion USD in 2022-23 and agreed to begin negotiations on a bilateral Preferential Trade Agreement./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency