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Jaishankar, Manalo co-chair 5th India-Philippines bilateral co-operation commission

New Delhi [India], June 29 (ANI): External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and visiting Philippines Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo co-chaired the 5th India-Philippines Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) here on Thursday.

The two leaders discussed a number of key areas of cooperation including cooperation in trade and investment, defence, health, medicine, agriculture, and others.

The visiting Philippines Foreign Secretary announced that his country has ratified the updated Air Services Agreement with India.

Stating that India is a priority partner of the Philippines in science and technology, including space cooperation, Manalo said that he hoped that the two countries can extend it further.

"A warm welcome to @SecManalo of Philippines on a pleasant monsoon morning in New Delhi. Our 5th Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation today will prepare our partnership for the future," tweeted Jaishankar prior to their meeting.

Jaishankar and Manalo had last met in Cambodia on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit, in November last year.

During the delegation-level talks, the External Affairs Minister highlighted the necessity to stabilize the Indo-Pacific and the importance of the rule of law and promoting inclusive multilateralism.

"The importance of our defence cooperation, the need to stabilize the Indo-Pacific, the importance of respecting rule of law and promoting inclusive multilateralism and the fact that we are both democratic Asian republics. I think all these messages really resonate very strongly with us from our perspective," said Jaishankar.

"I would also like to express my appreciation for your participation in the Voice of Global South Summit. And I truly believe today that we are two countries who share so much, who look at global developments and continental developments with so much convergence and who have so many economic complementarities that our commission will surely be very productive," he added.

Meanwhile, Manalo in his address thanked Jaishankar and the Government of India for the warm hospitality and welcome accorded to him and his delegation. The Philippines Foreign Secretary also noted the various areas of cooperation with India.

"We attach great importance to our relationship with India. Since the first JCBC, a number of key areas of cooperation have already been discussed and in fact, action is taken, and we hope that we can extend it further to our discussions today. India is a priority partner of the Philippines in science and technology, including space cooperation. Areas cooperation and trade and investment, defence, health, medicine, agriculture, tourism, financial, technology, just to name some," he said.

Manalo also said that India was ranked as the Philippines' 15th trading partner and that the two countries are working further to cement these ties.

"With the expected growth in economies of both countries, we are committed to even extending this, increasing this by creating an environment which will foster greater business partnerships and relationships in a way that mutually benefits both our countries," the Philippines Foreign Secretary said.

"And finally, I'd like to note that we have also progressed since we both opened Consulates General in each other's countries not long after our gaining independence. And my delegation here with me today is even more optimistic in the future of our cooperation relationship," he said.

India and the Philippines will this year celebrate the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. (ANI)