This comes amid the changing geo-political situation in the Indo-Pacific region

India and the Philippines on Friday held the 4th Joint Commission meeting on bilateral cooperation in a virtual format and reviewed the recent developments in their ties.

The Indian side led by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and the Philippines side headed by Teodoro Locsin Jr, Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs also discussed a wide range of matters of mutual importance.

Both sides, as per a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs, agreed to further strengthen defence engagement and maritime cooperation between the two countries, especially in military training and education, capacity building, regular good-will visits, and procurement of defence equipment.

They also agreed to enhance cooperation in the area of counter-terrorism with information exchange between concerned agencies and support in terms of specialized training needs.

They reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen cooperation against shared challenges, particularly in the health sector to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

In light of vibrant economic prospects for the two countries, both sides 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 and technology.

EAM Jaishankar 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 the ITEC and e-ITEC initiatives, and make use of integrated PhD 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, they agreed to explore closer cooperation in emerging areas such as renewable energy, space, cyber security 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 Philippines.

On regional and international issues, both sides agreed to coordinate closely at multilateral fora.

EAM Jaishankar 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.