THE PHILIPPINES and India have agreed to enhance their defense and security partnership, including increased maritime coordination, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said on Monday.
The two countries made the commitment during the 4th Philippines-India Strategic Dialogue held August 18 in Manila.
The talks were led by Philippine Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Bilateral Relations and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Affairs Ma. Theresa P. Lazaro and Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Secretary Saurabh.
The diplomatic leaders discussed counter-terrorism, disaster risk reduction and management, transnational crime, intelligence exchange and procurement of defense equipment, as well as regional and global developments.
Both sides shared concerns on maritime security and the marine economy, and agreed to fast-track preparations for a bilateral maritime dialogue.
A day before the strategic dialogue, the delegations convened the 13th Philippines-India Policy Consultations where new areas of partnership were discussed, including financial technology, space cooperation, development cooperation, and renewable energy.
Both nations also vowed to enhance cooperation in agriculture, pharmaceuticals, science and technology, culture, education, and tourism.
Policy Consultations between the foreign ministries began on an ad hoc basis in 1994 and was institutionalized in 2000 with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on Policy Consultation Talks.
Last week’s event was the first physical meeting between Philippine and Indian delegations since 2017. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan