Philippines, India talk defense ties, China
Camille Diola (The Philippine Star) - October 22, 2013 - 6:09pm

MANILA, Philippines - Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid agreed to boost military and defense cooperation between their respective countries amid recent standoffs with China.

"The ministers agreed to step up cooperation in combating non-traditional threats through exchange of experiences and capacity building in the areas of disaster management, food security and pandemics," a joint statement issued on Monday read.

Both countries share a common rival claimant in China, whose troops breached Indian territory resulting in a three-week standoff last April.

Chinese vessels have also been spotted entering Philippine-claimed coastal territories in the South China/West Philippine Sea. Manila, attempting a "rules-based approach" in resolving the maritime feud, elevated an arbitration case against Beijing in a United Nations court.

"Khurshid expressed support for a peaceful resolution of the South China Sea dispute consistent with freedom of navigation and the rule of law," the statement said.

Del Rosario also conveyed President Benigno Aquino III's invitation to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to visit Manila--something which Khurshid welcomed.

"The President of India looked forward to his visit to the Philippines in 2014," it said.

Both officials also discussed other areas of exchange between the two countries.

"Del Rosario and Khurshid held comprehensive discussions on political, defense, security, economic and cultural cooperation, and reviewed the progress of the joint working groups on trade and investment, tourism, agriculture, health and medicine, the joint committee on renewable energy and of the joint defense cooperation committee," it added.

DEL ROSARIO DEL ROSARIO AND KHURSHID FOREIGN AFFAIRS SECRETARY ALBERT INDIAN PRIME MINISTER MANMOHAN SINGH KHURSHID PRESIDENT BENIGNO AQUINO PRESIDENT OF INDIA ROSARIO AND INDIAN EXTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTER SALMAN KHURSHID SOUTH CHINA SOUTH CHINA SEA
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