India a key partner in ASEAN's fight vs. terrorism, violent extremism — Duterte

Published October 29, 2021, 4:04 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Regional bloc Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) can improve cooperation with India in the fight against terrorism, violent extremism, and transnational crimes “through exchanges of best practices and information”.

(Photo from Wikipedia/ Unsplash)

President Duterte had this to say during the 18th ASEAN-India Summit on Thursday, Oct. 28.

“We recognize India’s support of and active participation in ASEAN-led mechanisms. We look forward to further enhancing our cooperation in countering terrorism, violent extremism and transnational crimes through the exchange of best practices and information,” he said.

During the India dialogue, which was part of the 38th and 39th ASEAN Summits and Related Summits, Duterte said the Philippines welcomes the adoption of the ASEAN-India Joint Statement on Cooperation on the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo- Pacific.

He said the country aims to deepen the strategic partnership, particularly in public health, maritime security, digital economy, connectivity, science, technology, and innovation as well as biodiversity conservation.

“ASEAN and India also stand to benefit from closer cooperation in disaster management, green recovery and smart cities. These are the vital areas of engagement in the context of climate change,” said the Filipino leader, who joined his fellow leaders in the ASEAN and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Acknowledging the significance of the South China Sea in global maritime activities and trade, Duterte pointed out that stable maritime links are crucial to post-pandemic recovery and sustained economic growth.

President Duterte delivers a message during the 38th and 39th ASEAN Summits and Related Summits on Oct. 28, 2021 (Screenshot from Facebook live)

He thanked India for its consistent affirmation of the importance of the rule of law, freedom of navigation and peaceful resolution of disputes, in accordance with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

At the same time, the Philippine president said India is a reliable partner of ASEAN and expressed his gratitude to the people of India for their contribution of $1 million to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) ASEAN Response Fund.

Duterte lauded Thailand during the summit for its coordinatorship of the ASEAN-India Dialogue Relations and welcomed Singapore as the next country coordinator.

The Philippines, he said, looks forward to 2022 as ASEAN-India Friendship Year and commits to continue strengthening ASEAN-India relations for mutual gain.