Photo: PH-INDIA DEALS. President Rodrigo Duterte (right) and Indian President Ram Nath Kovind (left) deliver their joint statement on the sidelines of the signing of cooperation deals between the Philippines and India in Malacañan Palace on Friday (Oct. 18, 2019). Both leaders expressed elation over the growing friendship between Manila and New Delhi that has brought "tremendous opportunities" between their peoples. (PNA Photo)
MANILA — Four agreements were signed between the Philippines and India on Friday, as Indian President Ram Nath Kovind embarked on a five-day visit to Manila upon the invitation of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Duterte and Kovind witnessed the exchange of cooperation deals on the sidelines of their bilateral meeting at Malacañan Palace on Friday afternoon.
A memorandum of understanding (MOU) aimed at boosting the two countries' cooperation in tourism and hospitality sector was signed between the Department of Tourism and the Indian Ministry of Tourism.
Another MOU on the sharing of white shipping information was inked between the Philippine Coast Guard and the Indian Navy.
Manila and New Delhi's Departments of Science and Technology signed a program of cooperation in the fields of science and technology starting this year until 2022.
A cultural exchange program was also inked between the governments of the Philippines and India.
In a joint press statement with Kovind, Duterte said the signing of deals would further strengthen ties between the two nations.
The President was elated that the friendship between Manila and New Delhi has brought "tremendous opportunities" between their peoples.
"With the signing of bilateral agreements, we have likewise widened the path towards enhancement of our engagement in maritime security, science [and] technology, tourism, and cultural cooperation," the President said.
"We hope to look back on this day as a milestone in our relation -- the day when we set out to turn promise into reality, and potential into concrete benefits [that] bring the greatest positive impact on the lives of our peoples," he added.
Kovind, for his part, said the agreements would allow the two countries to "explore both [their] common future".
The Indian leader likewise acknowledged that the Philippines and India are "natural partners" in fulfilling their respective "national development and security objectives".
"While cooperation between governments is important, it is between the people-to-people relations that form the bedrock of strong bilateral relations," he said.
"The future presents us with new opportunities to bring our two nations closer. I believe that the time has come for the Philippines-India relationship to reach, all together, a new level of engagement" Kovind added. (PNA)