MANILA – India’s President Ram Nath Kovind met on Friday with his Philippine counterpart, Rodrigo Duterte, in the Southeast Asian nation, where both countries signed agreements to strengthen bilateral trade and joint maritime operations among others.
President Duterte welcomed Kovind in Manila on the second day of his official state visit to the Philippines, where they witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding vowing to cooperate on maritime security, tourism and trade between the two nations.
“As countries strategically located in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, we affirmed our shared interest to protect our maritime commons and advance the rule of law in our maritime domains,” Duterte said Friday during the ceremony held at the Malacanang Palace, his official residence.
Kovind, who is on a five-day visit to the islands, remarked the 70th anniversary of relations between the countries and said these were based on “democracy, rule of law, and celebration of diversity.” He also said the Philippines was one of the region’s fastest-growing economies and highlighted the importance of trade among the nations.
On his part, Duterte spoke of further agreements the countries had reached, urging that these continue into the future.
.”.. We have likewise widened the path towards enhancement of our engagement in maritime security, science [and] technology, tourism, and cultural cooperation,” the president said. “India is a natural partner of the Philippines. Enhancing our relations is therefore timely as it is necessary.”
Kovind will leave Monday morning for Tokyo, Japan, where he will continue his trip of Southeast and East Asia.