India’s prime minister Narendra Modi is confirmed to attend ASEAN summit in Manila from Nov 12.
Modi’s visit to Philippines is expected to boost economic ties between India and Philippines. The relations between the two countries have been cordial, however the full potential is yet to be realized.
Narendra Modi will be the first Indian prime minister to come on a 2 day official visit to Philippines since 2007 when Dr. Manmohan singh visited Cebu to attend 5th ASEAN summit.
Earlier, Mrs. Indira Gandhi had made a brief stopover in Manila in 1981 while returning from Australia.
Prior to this former Indian president Abdul Kalam had visited Philippines in February 2006 which let to siging of four major agreements covering conventional issues such as defence and trade to new emerging areas of cooperation such as biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and tourism.
Despite the large size of their economies and immense potential in bilateral trade and investment, trade relations have remained marginal, which can be attributed to the lack of knowledge of opportunities among the investors and general public about each other.
Modi’s visit is also expected to strengthen cultural and historic ties. About 30% of Tagalog words were adopted from Sanskrit.
People-to-people contacts are on the rise as Philippines is beginning to emerge as a destination for Indian medical students. There are more than 4000 Indian students pursuing medical courses in various universities in the Philippines. Also, nearly half the students at the Asian Institute of Management in Manila are from India.
Recently, India gave financial assistance of US$500,000 to Philippines in its fight against ISIS, also India openly backs Philippines on South China row. These developments provide a very positive atmosphere for Modi and President Duterte who will be meeting for the first time, to improve bilateral relations between India & Philippines.