India and Philippines to enhance bilateral defense engagement and maritime cooperation.

The resolve between the two nations India and Philippines to deepen defense and maritime ties comes in the backdrop of China's growing expansionist behavior in eastern Ladakh, South China Sea, and the Indo-Pacific region. The fourth meeting of the India-Philippines joint commission on bilateral cooperation, co-chaired by External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and his Philippines counterpart Teodoro Locsin Jr. L, was held online on Friday.

Both sides held comprehensive discussions on a wide range of matters of mutual importance and reviewed the recent developments in India-Philippines relations as well as discussed the future trajectory of their wide-ranging engagements, a Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said. India and Philippines also agreed to enhance cooperation in the area of counter-terrorism with information trade between agencies concerned and support in terms of specialized training needs, the statement asserted.

In light of vibrant economic prospects for both countries, the co-chairs agreed on expanding trade and investment links. Both sides also conceded to work towards strengthening cooperation in agriculture, health and pharmaceutical, tourism, energy, ICT, and science and technology. Jaishankar admired the educational opportunities provided by the Philippines to Indian students and also reaffirmed India's development and capacity building assistance to that country, according to the MEA.

Leaders of both the countries for a more expansive and mutually beneficial relationship between India and Philippines, the ministers agreed to explore closer cooperation in emerging areas such as renewable energy, space, cybersecurity, and traditional medicine.

Jaishankar and Secretary Locsin reaffirmed their commitment to a multifaceted partnership in line with India's Indo-Pacific Ocean Initiative (IPOI) and ASEAN's outlook on Indo-Pacific to achieve shared security, prosperity, and growth for all in the region.

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