PH, India bolster ties through several pacts on cybersecurity, technology, customs

The Philippines and India are so far gaining momentum in strengthening their ties after discussing areas of cooperation such as cybersecurity, technology, and customs among others.

(Photo courtesy of DFA)

"Relations between the Philippines and India gained further momentum after a bilateral meeting between Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. and Indian External Affairs Minister Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar at the Hyderabad House on 24 April 2022 in New Delhi," the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Monday, April 25.

It was disclosed that during the meeting, the two officials discussed new areas of cooperation in cybersecurity and science and technology. They also exchanged views on regional and international developments, particularly on the Ukraine crisis, the situation in Myanmar, and the South China Sea issue.

The two foreign ministers also talked about the progress in various bilateral cooperation activities since their February 2022 meeting.

“When we met in February, you said that the Philippines is a ‘natural partner for India’s Act East Policy’. We too, see India as a natural partner for navigating our increasingly complex regional and global security situation,” Locsin said.

“The Philippines and India are two of Asia’s largest and most vibrant democracies. We share a common aspiration for an international order based on liberty, the rule of law, and commitment to socio-economic development,” Locsin added.

Announced in November 2014, India’s “Act East” policy refers to its diplomatic efforts to promote strategic, economic and cultural relations with the Asia-Pacific region at various levels, based on culture, commerce, connectivity, and capacity building (4Cs). It is an expansion of the “Look East” policy, which was an effort to cultivate extensive strategic and economic relations with Southeast Asian nations towards strengthening India’s standing as a regional power.

Recognizing both countries' common interests in maritime security and safety, and maritime environmental protection, as well as their support for a rules-based international order, Locsin and Jaishankar explored the possibility of establishing a maritime dialogue forum this year.

After the meeting, the two officials witnessed the signing of the Agreement on Cooperation and Mutual Assistance on Customs Matters, which aims to strengthen, promote and develop cooperation and mutual assistance on customs matters between the two countries. The agreement was signed by Ambassador Ramon S. Bagatsing Jr. and Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs Chairman Vivek Johri for the Philippine and Indian sides, respectively.

Locsin is in an official visit to India from April 23 to 26 to meet with Jaishankar and participate in the 7th Edition of the Raisina Dialogue, India’s premier conference on geopolitics and geo-economics that is committed to addressing the most challenging issues facing the global community.

He joins 15 other ministers and high-level officials from other countries in the dialogue.