PH, India boost bilateral ties, sign 4 agreements

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AS part of efforts to improve bilateral ties between the Philippines and India, the two countries have signed four agreements to enhance cooperation on defense, trade, agriculture, and foreign services.

The signing was held during the bilateral meeting between President Rodrigo Duterte and Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi on Monday on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit in Manila.

The four agreements signed were in the areas of defense and logistics cooperation, agriculture, cooperation in the field of micro, small, and medium enterprises and for collaboration between the Indian Council of World Affairs and the Foreign Service Institute of Philippines.

On his twitter account, Modi said he had a productive meeting with Duterte, who also serves as chairman of this year’s Asean.

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“Had a productive meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte. We had extensive discussions on enhancing India-Philippines bilateral cooperation especially in trade, business and culture,” Modi said.

In his speech during the meeting, Duterte said he would like to further enhance trade relations with India, particularly on medicines which, according to him, were very affordable.

He also urged Modi to explore business opportunities in the Philippines, especially on affordable medicines amid India’s flourishing generics industry.

“And as always, I’ve already said that we have a good relationship with India. And I would like to maintain and make it more robust over the years. And we’re just — we thank you for your moderation in all of these things that’s happening now and we are ready to cooperate with you in all matters that would spell the good and comfortable life of the people in the world,” Duterte said.

“We want to discuss trade relations further and especially, the most important one is that… and I’m happy that you’re here because of we can’t find the medicines, and you have it and it is — India — people who can really afford to buy it…And we might invite you to take a visit to the Philippines and some of the guys who maybe would want to invest there. And we would [be]happy to see you building an investment that would include the medicines,” he added.

Meanwhile, Modi invited Duterte to visit India for the 2018 Asean-India Commemorative Summit along with other Asean leaders.

But the President did not give a specific answer, and said that he would be visiting India when the right time comes.

“In God’s will, I will be there (in India),” Duterte told Modi.

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