Duterte to attend ASEAN-India commemorative summit

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Asean Summit opening ceremony. AFP, file

Duterte to attend ASEAN-India commemorative summit

Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - January 15, 2018 - 5:02pm
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte will attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations -India Commemorative Summit this month as Manila seeks to boost its relationship with New Delhi, an emerging economy. 
 
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Duterte's participation in the summit was an outcome of his bilateral meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the 31st ASEAN summit last November. 
 
During the meeting, Modi invited Duterte to attend the ASEAN-India summit and India’s Republic Day.
 
The visit to India will also be Duterte's first foreign trip this year. 
 
Roque said the ASEAN-India summit would also be the first summit under Singapore's chairmanship of ASEAN. The Philippines did not send a representative to the event in 2012. 
 
"The fact that the President decided to attend is also because of a personal appeal by the Indian ambassador that in 2012, the commemorative summit held in 2012 in India, the Philippines was the only country that was not represented by a head of state and that is why he has confirmed his attendance," the presidential spokesman added. 
 
During his meeting with Modi last November, Duterte said he wanted to have a stronger trade relations with India especially on the purchase of cheap medicines.
 
Duterte said he was hopeful that there would be Indian companies that would manufacture cheap medicines in the Philippines.
 
The Philippines and India also signed four cooperation agreements in defense, logistics, agriculture and micro, small and medium enterprises during the meeting. 
 
The Philippines and India established diplomatic relations in 1949. 
 
A growing economic power, India has been forging closer ties with its neighbors in the east, particularly with Southeast Asian countries.
 
Some analysts said an economic and defense partnership between India and ASEAN is important as some members of the regional bloc, including the Philippines, are embroiled in a maritime row with China over some areas in South China Sea. 
 
The dispute makes it necessary for ASEAN member states to diversify ties with other countries, according to experts. 

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