India and the Philippines found common cause in issues relating to security and commerce in the Indo-Pacific as well as terrorism as PM Narendra Modi met Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte at a time when the island nation has emerged from a pitched battle against Islamic State-affiliated groups.
The two countries signed four agreements as Modi and Duterte held their first bilateral summit in Manila on the sidelines of the Asean summit and the PM strongly pitched for a rules-based regional security architecture, reflecting a growing convergence among India, the US and Japan over the need to deal with China’s intent to dominate the region.
At the Asean-India Summit, Modi identified terrorism and extremism as the major challenges facing the region and said it was time to deal with it collectively. “India assures the Asean of its steady support towards achieving a rulesbased regional security architecture that best attests to the region’s interests and its peaceful development,” he said.
Modi and Duterte resolved to expand bilateral ties. “Both leaders said the scourge of terrorism has to be dealt with effectively,” secretary (east) in the MEA, Preeti Saran, told reporters. The defence agreements are mainly in logistics. “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 tweeted after the first visit by an Indian PM to Philippines in 36 years. Modi also had bilateral meetings with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern, Australian PM Malcolm Turnbulland others.
Pushing for greater trade linkages, Modi said, “Maritime links established thousands of years ago between India and Asean countries have enabled our trade relations in the past and we have to work closely to strengthen them.” All the 10 Asean leaders will be chief guests at the 2018 Republic Day celebrations.
“The befitting theme of ‘Shared Values, Common Destiny’ for our 25th anniversary celebrations has been jointly celebrated… I look forward to a befitting culmination of the commemorative year and receiving you at the India-Asean Special Commemorative Summit on January 25 in New Delhi,” Modi said.