India and the Philippines have strongly condemned terrorism and committed to continue their cooperation in fighting the global menace as President Ram Nath Kovind and his Philippine counterpart Rodrigo Duterte expressed optimism about a stronger future partnership between the two nations.
Kovind arrived in the Philippines on October 17 as part of his five-day state visit to the country.
“India and Philippines strongly condemn terrorism and commit to continue their cooperation in fighting this global menace! Defence and Maritime security emerge as a new focus area!” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a tweet on Saturday.
Kovind and Duterte “reaffirmed warm and friendly bilateral relations, and expressed optimism about a stronger future partnership between India and Philippines”, he added.
President Duterte, Kumar said, recognises India’s growing role in the Indo-Pacific region.
“Phillipines is a key country in India’s ‘Act East’ Policy in ASEAN and Indo – Pacific,” Kumar tweeted.
Earlier in the day, addressing the India-Philippines Business Conclave and the 4th ASEAN-India Business Summit here, President Kovind underlined that ASEAN-India relations are special and the country’s “Act East” policy puts the ASEAN region at the centre of its engagement with the Indo-Pacific.
On Friday, India and the Philippines agreed to bolster defence and maritime security partnership and to make it a key pillar of bilateral cooperation, amidst China flexing its military muscles in the region.
The two countries also committed to work closely together to defeat and eliminate terrorism in all its forms as Kovind held wide-ranging talks with Duterte at his official residence, the Malacañang Palace.
In another tweet, Kumar said, the two presidents “agreed to study and research ancient ties between India and Philippines. Historical connections and people to people contacts are emphasized.”