President Rodrigo Roa Duterte hosted a state banquet Friday night for Indian President Ram Nath Kovind who arrived in the Philippines for a five-day state visit.
“Allow me, Excellency, to take this occasion to thank you, a great nation for your unswerving support to my country,” President Duterte said in his remarks during the event in Malacañang.
“Whether it be in rebuilding Marawi or international arena when our sovereignty is challenged, India was with the Philippines.”
The President said the destinies of the two nations are intimately linked, from the economic to the political-security spheres, because both nations belong to one region connected by the vast expanse of the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
The Philippines holds India in high regard, being the world’s largest democracy and one of the fastest growing economies today, according to the President.
The Philippine leader praised India, saying that despite its continuous rise, it adheres to international law and to its international commitments as a responsible member of the international community.
The two countries, the President said, must be relentless in advancing their bilateral ties.
“Today, we have strengthened our commitment to see a more vibrant and multi-faceted ties between our countries and peoples. I have no doubt that we will succeed in this noble endeavor,” President Duterte said.
In his remarks, President Kovind expressed his gratitude to the President for the warm reception accorded to him and to the members of his delegation.
“I thank you for your generous words and the kind sentiments expressed — sentiments that I fully reciprocate,” he said.
As a strong economic performer in Asia, India sees the Philippines as an important partner in the Indo-Pacific region. President Kovind added that his country is keen to take the relationship to a new height.
President Kovind’s state visit comes as the Philippines and India celebrate the 70th anniversary of their diplomatic relations this year. In the past three years, President Kovind’s visit is the third high-level exchange between the two countries after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Manila in 2017. President Duterte also went to India in 2018.
Prior to meeting President Duterte in Malacañang Friday, President Kovind laid a wreath at Dr. Jose Rizal’s monument at the Rizal Park.
The Filipino officials who welcomed the Indian leader were Manila Mayor Francisco Domagoso, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, and Philippine Navy chief Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad. PND