The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and India could further enhance cooperation in fighting terrorism, violent extremism and transnational crimes through exchanges of best practices and information, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte said on Thursday.
Speaking at the virtual 18th ASEAN-India Summit, President Duterte said the Philippines welcomes the adoption of the ASEAN-India Joint Statement on Cooperation on the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo- Pacific and aims to deepen the strategic partnership, particularly in public health, maritime security, digital economy, connectivity and 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 President, 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, President Duterte pointed out that stable maritime links are crucial to post-pandemic recovery and sustained economic growth.
The Filipino leader 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 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 COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund.
President 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. PND