New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar visited the Philippines from 13 to 15 February, his first visit to the Philippines as External Affairs Minister.
Dr Jaishankar 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 a 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, an MEA release said.
The Ministers welcomed recent trends in bilateral ties that have contributed to the 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 and military training and capacity building, the release said.
In light of the complementarities between the 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 and tourism.
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.
Dr Jaishankar also sought the attention of the Philippine government to facilitate the early return of Indian medical students to the Philippines.
Both the 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 the Indo-Pacific region.
During the visit, EAM also interacted with Delfin Lorenzana, Secretary of Defence, Carlos Dominguez III, Secretary of Finance and Dr William Dar, Secretary of Agriculture, to discuss issues strengthening cooperation in Defence, Finance and Agriculture sectors, respectively. The Minister also interacted with a cross-section of the Indian Community in Manila.