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India and the Philippines kindle 360-degree partnership to safeguard the Indo-Pacific region

External Affairs held extensive discussions with Philippines Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin in Manila on Monday (Images courtesy: Twitter/DrSJaishankar and the Philippines Foreign ministry)

Calling India a partner "in promoting peace and security in the region", as well as in "advocating the rule of law in the face of armed ambition and the anarchy that follows it", the Philippines on Monday vowed to increase maritime, defence, economic and health cooperation with New Delhi. 

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had a busy first day of his visit to the western Pacific Ocean country, holding extensive discussions with his counterpart Teodoro Locsin, country's Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and Agriculture minister William Dar.

"As maritime countries, the Philippines and India, both at the crossroads of the busiest sea lanes in the world, know the critical role of the rule of law in maintaining stability on the water — that most unstable element yet so vital to the life and thriving of nations," said Locsin at the luncheon hosted for Jaishankar on Monday.

"We have so much more to do in maritime cooperation; as much bilaterally as regionally in the context of ASEAN; more broadly still throughout the Indo-Pacific," he added. 

As reported by IndiaNarrative.com, Jaishankar's ongoing visit to the Philippines is expected to cement special ties between New Delhi and Manila following their recent BarhMos missile deal, widely touted as a game-changer in the South China Sea.

The two countries are now looking at working together in the fields of maritime security, intelligence-sharing, military training, procurement and logistics.

The Foreign Affairs Secretary of the country promised to exchange more visits and "engage more expansively" in dialogue essential to better steer the direction of  bilateral relations, especially leading to a milestone in 2024 – the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

"At the heart of our relationship are the historical, cultural, and personal ties between our peoples. For centuries, we traded even more then than now. And while it may be myth that we shared an imperium or far-flung alliance, the story expresses an affinity that has defied distance," commented Locsin.

Later, Jaishankar also met the Philippines' Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana who had signed the contract worth PHP 18.9 billion with BrahMos Aerospace Director General Atul Dinkar Rane in a virtual ceremony at the DND headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on January 28.

"Nice to meet Defence Minister @del_lorenzana of Philippines. A good discussion on national security challenges and expanding defence cooperation," tweeted Jaishankar after the meeting.

Lorenzana had termed his country's move to acquire the world's fastest supersonic cruise missiles as "landmark", saying that the Philippines realises the importance of the contract considering escalating regional tensions, especially China's strategic expansion into the South China Sea.

"Equipping our Navy with this vital asset is imperative as the Philippines continues to protect the integrity of its territory and defend its national interests," the defence chief had said at the time of contract signing for the shore-based anti-ship missile system acquisition project for the Philippine Navy.

Jaishankar also had conversations on "economic recovery and development cooperation" with the country's Finance and Agriculture Ministers on Monday evening.

"Appreciate their long association with India and their enthusiasm for strengthening our partnership," said the minister.

The EAM maintained that the two countries are "entering a new phase of partnership" with its basis being the "mutuality of national security and development aspirations".


Jaishankar had started the day by visiting the Intramuros heritage site in Manila.

"Interesting historical connection with Raja Matanda. Paid my respects to national hero Jose Rizal," he had tweeted on Monday morning.

Also Read: India and Philippines set to forge special ties after BrahMos missile deal during Jaishankar's visit