Arroyo backs India's 'Look East' policy for more cooperation

() - October 5, 2007 - 10:29am

MUMBAI - President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said Thursday that the Philippines supports India's "Look East" policy that could open more opportunities for cooperation and integration between their economies.

Speaking before Indian businessmen at the Taj Majal Hotel here, the President said that India, now the world's fourth largest economy, has made impressive economic strides in recent years.

"India is becoming an undeniable driving force behind global economic growth. Because of the growing market of India and China, growth in Asia is transitioning from being export-driven to being domestically-driven," she said.

“We are delighted with the growth of India, along with China, to add to the power of Japan in the region,” the President said, adding that the Philippines benefits from this growth.

She said India’s awakening can only lift up the Philippines. “This is a positive healthy development. We welcome the economic growth of India.”

The President said India's ascendance to the world economic stage has political, economic and strategic implications for both India and the East Asian region.

"That is why we support India's ‘Look East’ policy and your plans to integrate with both South Asia and Southeast Asia. We hope this policy will include greater economic integration between the Philippines and India," the President said.

She expressed the hope that there will be greater integration between the two countries through closer political, economic and security engagements, and cooperation in tourism and movie production.

Aside from being the Philippines’ biggest supplier of half-priced medicines, India is also into textile, business process outsourcing (BPO) and steel in the country.

The President said her state visit here to entice more investments reciprocates the state visit of Indian President Abdul Kalam to the Philippines in 2006, and the participation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the East Asian Summit held in Cebu last January.

"We hope these three visits coming one after the other will lead us toward closer political security and economic engagement," the President said.

EAST ASIAN SUMMIT ECONOMIC INDIA INDIA AND CHINA INDIA AND THE EAST ASIAN INDIAN PRESIDENT ABDUL KALAM LOOK EAST PHILIPPINES AND INDIA PRESIDENT PRESIDENT GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO
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