RP, India Sign 9 Agreements; Trade, Security, & Energy Cooperation Formalized GMA Encourages Indian Businessmen to Invest in RP
Byline: HANNAH L. TORREGOZA
NEW DELHI (via PLDT) -- The Philippines and India signed nine agreements yesterday as they pledged to strengthen their trade relations, fight terrorism, and maintain cultural ties.
The agreements were signed on the second day of President Arroyo's three-day state visit here.
The nine agreements included a pact meant to combat international terrorism and the establishment of a joint commission on bilateral cooperation.
The signing of the agreements was personally witnessed by Mrs. Arroyo during a business forum at the Oberoi Hotel in New Delhi. The event was participated in by the country's top trade and business officials.
The nine agreements signed were:
1. Declaration on a framework of bilateral cooperation between the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of India;
2. RP-India joint declaration for cooperation to combat international terrorism;
3. Agreement on the establishment of a joint commission on bilateral cooperation;
4. Memorandum of agreement on the exemption of visa requirements for holders of diplomatic and official passport which is meant to relax the entry of diplomatic and consular missions of Indian nationals in the Philippines;
5. Memorandum of understanding on cooperation between the Foreign Service Institute of the Philippines, and the Foreign Service Institute of India;
6. Memorandum of agreement on enhanced cooperation in the field of renewable energy;
7. Memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the field of health and medicine;
8. Memorandum of understanding regarding the utilization of a US$ 50 million credit line between the Philippine government and the Export-Import Bank of India; and
9. Memorandum of agreement between the Philippine International Trading Corp and the State Trading Corp. of India Ltd. for trade between the Philippines and India.
The Philippine-India anti-terror pact aims to enhance intelligence and information sharing on counter-terrorism measures and strengthen capacity-building efforts through training and education.
Earlier yesterday, Mrs. Arroyo met India's first woman president Pratibha Devisingh Patil.
Wearing an aquamarine dress, Mrs. Arroyo arrived at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the Indian President's residence, where she was welcomed by Patil, Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, and other top Indian officials.
The full military honors accorded to President Arroyo started at 9 a.m. (11:30 a.m. in Manila).
"India has played a very important influence on the culture of the Philippines way back before the Spanish colonized us and we want to revive our cultural ties," the President said.
"And as one of the neighbors of India in the East Asian region, we are happy to be here to move the integration of our economies forward," she said.
Patil assumed office as the 12th President of India only last July 25, 2007. She is the first woman elected to the highest office in this country.
Afterwards, Mrs. Arroyo went to the tomb of Mahatma Gandhi in Rajghat to pay her respects to the "Father of India."
During her keynote address at the business forum, Mrs. Arroyo encouraged Indian business companies to make more investments in the Philippines as she cited her support for India's "Look East" policy.
"We urge Indian companies to look eastward. Currently the balance of trade is lopsided in India's favor," she said. …