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Joint Statement : Third India-Philippines Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation

October 14, 2015

  1. The 3rd Meeting of the India-Philippines Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation was held on 14 October 2015 in New Delhi. The meeting was co-chaired by Her Excellency Sushma Swaraj, External Affairs Minister of the Republic of India and Honorable Albert F. Del Rosario, Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines.
  2. Minister Swaraj and Secretary Del Rosario expressed satisfaction at the progress made in the implementation of the decisions made at the 2nd Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation.
  3. They held comprehensive discussions on a wide range of matters of mutual importance including political-security; economic; and socio-cultural cooperation, and reviewed the progress of the Joint Working Groups on Trade and Investment; Tourism; Agriculture; Health and Medicine; as well as the Joint Committee on Renewable Energy; and the Joint Defense Cooperation Committee.
  4. The Ministers emphasized the importance of regular high level meetings, to reflect the growing and dynamic bilateral partnership between the Philippines and India.
  5. The Ministers welcomed the proposed visit of the President of India to the Philippines and endeavoured to work towards its success.
  6. The Meeting noted the convening of institutionalized mechanisms such as the Foreign Policy Consultations; Strategic Dialogue; and Joint Consular Consultation Meetings. The Ministers agreed that the Joint Working Groups/ Joint Committees that support these mechanisms be held regularly to discuss and agree on concrete and time bound targets in the various identified areas of cooperation. In this regard, both Ministers agreed that the next meetings of the Policy Consultations and Strategic Dialogue will be held in New Delhi in 2016.
  7. The Ministers expressed satisfaction at the deepening defence cooperation especially in exchanges in military training and education, capacity building, and regular goodwill visits by Indian Naval Ships to the Philippines. Both sides agreed to further strengthen defence and security cooperation in the areas of maritime domain awareness, intelligence sharing, capability building, White Shipping and defence production. The Ministers expressed satisfaction at the regular INTELLEX meeting and looked forward to the convening of the 2nd meeting of the India-Philippines Joint Defense Cooperation Committee (JDCC) in India.
  8. Secretary Del Rosario briefed Minister Swaraj on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro and the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law. Minister Swaraj expressed India's support for the Philippine Government's pursuit of a just and lasting peace in Mindanao.
  9. The Ministers affirmed their shared commitment to fight the scourge of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and reiterated their resolve to expand and deepen cooperation to counter terrorism. They agreed to the early convening of the Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism, in New Delhi to discuss all issues related to terrorism and other transnational crimes.
  10. Recognizing the common threats to national security from transnational crimes, the Ministers hoped for an early conclusion of negotiations on the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty in Criminal Matters (MLAT) and the commencement of negotiations on a Transfer of Sentenced Persons Agreement (TSPA).
  11. Secretary Del Rosario briefed Minister Swaraj on the developments in the West Philippine Sea, and the status of the Philippine arbitration case at the Permanent Court of Arbitration, in The Hague, the Netherlands. Minister Swaraj expressed support for the peaceful resolution of the West Philippine Sea/South China Sea dispute. Both sides reiterated the importance of the settlement of all disputes by peaceful means and of refraining from the threat or use of force , in accordance with universally recognised principles of international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS. The two Ministers asserted the importance of safeguarding the freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea. In this regard, they reiterated the importance of an expeditious conclusion on a Code of Conduct and full and effective implementation of the 2002 Declaration of the Code of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.
  12. The Philippines recognized the steps taken by India to solve its maritime boundary with Bangladesh , through arbitration at the Permanent Court of Arbitration, and its acceptance of the ruling as an example of peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS. by the International Court.
  13. The Ministers' expressed satisfaction at the growing economic ties between India and the Philippines and committed to further enhance bilateral trade and investment. They expressed hope that the next Joint Working Group (JWG) on Trade and Investment be held early next year, along with the Joint Business Council meeting which further boost our bilateral trade. The Ministers noted the impressive economic growth by both countries and the ASEAN Economic Community impact an increased economic cooperation. Minister Swaraj called for the ratification of the ASEAN-India Trade in Services and Investment Agreements and the review of Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA).
  14. In light of vibrant economic prospects for both countries, Secretary Del Rosario encouraged investments from India in the areas of Public Private Partnership, infrastructure development and information and communications technology, among others. He expressed hope that two-way trade will continue to increase and that a healthier balance can be achieved.
  15. Minister Swaraj thanked the Philippines for the active encouragement and facilitation of Indian investments into the Philippines and hoped that investors from the Philippines will also make use of the enhanced investment opportunities in India provided by the implementation of the Smart City and Make in India programmes. She also hoped that Philippines will facilitate greater access to Indian companies, particularly in the field of infrastructure.
  16. The Ministers highlighted the potential in health and pharmaceuticals. To maximise this potential, the Ministers called on the convening of the first meeting of TWG on Pharmazone and Pharmaceuticals and second meeting of the JWG on Health and Medicine to discuss relevant issues. Minister Swaraj expressed hope that the Philippines will facilitate entry of more Indian pharmaceutical companies in the Philippines.
  17. Both Ministers also expressed satisfaction at the growth in tourism with around 43,000 tourists from the Philippines visiting India in 2014 and around 61,000 Indian tourists to the Philippines in 2014. The Ministers looked forward to the next meeting of the JWG on Tourism Cooperation proposed to be held in the Philippines in 2016.
  18. Both Ministers stressed the importance of enhancing cooperation in sectors such as Agriculture; New and Renewable Energy; Science & Technology; Information Technology; and Education sectors and encouraged the convening of relevant JWGs to further strengthen cooperation in these fields.
  19. Both Ministers underlined the existing cultural and civilizational linkages between the two countries and welcomed ongoing efforts to encourage further people-to-people exchanges. They expressed conviction that the Executive Programme of Cultural Exchanges for the year 2016-2018, between the two countries will further expand bilateral cultural cooperation and contribute to further strengthening of the partnership.
  20. Both sides agreed to address consular issues through bilateral consular consultations and regular meetings.
  21. The Ministers exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual interest including ASEAN-India cooperation; EAS; APEC; UNSC reforms, climate change and candidatures at various international bodies.
  22. Minister Swaraj wished the Philippines a successful Chairmanship of the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Manila on 18–19 November 2015.
  23. The two Ministers signed the bilateral Executive Programme of Cultural Exchanges for the year 2016–2018 and exchanged Instruments of Ratification of the India-Philippines Extradition Treaty during the meeting.
  24. The Ministers agreed that the 4th Meeting of the Joint Commission will be held in the Philippines in 2017.
  25. Secretary Rosario thanked Minister Swaraj for the excellent arrangements for the meeting and the warm hospitality extended to him and his delegation during his visit.
New Delhi,
October 14, 2015
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