Aguinaldo State Dining Room, Malacañan Palace
October 18, 2019

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte stood alongside President Ram Nath Kovind of the Republic of India for a photo opportunity held at the Aguinaldo State Dining Room in Malacañan Palace.

Following the photo opportunity, the two leaders proceeded to an expanded bilateral meeting together with their respective delegations. The agenda of the meeting included discussions on further strengthening relations between the Philippines and India in many areas of cooperation such as tourism, science and technology, among others.

In their separate opening statements, President Duterte shared that it is his pleasure to reciprocate the warm hospitality he received when he visited India in 2018, during its hosting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) – India Commemorative Summit and Republic Day Celebration.

“Your Excellency’s visit is important on two accounts. First, it sustains our tradition of summit-level meetings that generate fresh political momentum for greater cooperation between our countries… Second, your visit pays tribute to the friendly ties between our nations as we commemorate its 70th anniversary this year,” he said.

The Chief Executive added that the Philippines and India are not only celebrating formal relations but centuries-old interaction and exchange between their peoples, and that over the past seven decades, the two nations’ cooperation has grown significantly, saying that “There is still ample room for expansion”.

“I am optimistic that our meeting today will point us towards the path of a more vibrant bilateral engagement in the years and decades to come,” he continued.

In response, President Kovind extended his gratitude to the Philippine President for the warm welcome. “I am delighted that my visit marks, as you have said, 70 years of diplomatic relations between our two countries. We attach the highest importance to our relations with the Philippines which are based on shared values of democracy, rule of law, and celebration of diversity,” he underscored.

The Indian leader also expressed his condolences to the victims of the 6.3-magnitude earthquake that rocked southern Mindanao last October 14, 2019. “I convey my deepest condolences on the loss of life caused by the earthquake in Mindanao on Wednesday. I hope the affected people are able to begin their normal lives soon,” President Kovind said.

* * *