Nov 06: The 4th Meeting of the India-Philippines Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation, co-chaired by Dr. S. Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister of Republic of India (EAM) and Mr. Teodoro Locsin Jr., Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs of Republic of Philippines, was held virtually on 06 November 2020.
Both sides held comprehensive discussions on a wide range of matters of mutual importance. They reviewed the recent developments in India-Philippines bilateral relations and discussed the future trajectory of their wide-ranging engagement. The co-chairs reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen cooperation against shared challenges, particularly in the health sector to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
The co-chairs agreed to further strengthen defense engagement and maritime cooperation between the two countries, especially in military training and education, capacity building, regular good-will visits, and procurement of defense equipment. They agreed to enhance cooperation in the area of counter-terrorism with information exchange between concerned agencies and support in terms of specialized training needs.
In light of vibrant economic prospects for both countries, the co-chairs agreed on expanding trade and investment links. Both sides also agreed to work towards strengthening cooperation in agriculture, health and pharmaceuticals, tourism, energy, ICT, and science & technology.
EAM appreciated the educational opportunities provided by the Philippines to Indian students. He also reaffirmed India’s development and capacity-building assistance to the Philippines. EAM invited Filipino students, scholars, and academicians to avail of the ITEC and e-ITEC initiatives and make use of integrated Ph.D. Fellowships offered to ASEAN students at IITs.
In line with the vision of the leaders of both the countries for a more expansive and mutually beneficial relationship between India and the Philippines, the co-chairs agreed to explore closer cooperation in emerging areas such as renewable energy, space, cybersecurity, and traditional medicine.
To expand trade, investment, tourism, and student exchange between the two countries, both sides agreed to work towards a simplified visa regime between India and the Philippines.
On regional and international issues, both sides agreed to coordinate closely at multilateral fora. EAM and Secretary Locsin reaffirmed their commitment to a multifaceted partnership in line with India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) and the ASEAN’s Outlook on Indo-Pacific to achieve shared security, prosperity, and growth for all in the region.