RELATIONS between India and the Philippines is expected to remain strong even after a change in leadership following the May elections, said the Indian Ambassador to Manila, but broadening ties will depend on the new administration’s governance and foreign policies.  

“I don’t see any significant change in the Philippines’ foreign policy orientation… with regards to India, post-elections. Interactions with the other political formations indicate that there is considerable and continued interest in building a relationship with India,” Indian ambassador to the Philippines Shambhu S. Kumaran said during a forum on Tuesday via Zoom.  

“Our understanding is that whatever new government or new president comes into the Philippines, it’s likely to be very supportive of a stronger India-Philippines partnership but that would include, I would suspect, a stronger defense partnership,” he said. 

The diplomat noted that the two countries have begun working closely on more security aspects, including counterterrorism and transnational crime, among others.  

He said there is potential to expand this partnership in terms of cybersecurity cooperation and space-based applications.  

In economic relations, he said “there is great room for cooperation and growth together” in the business process outsourcing industry.  

“I don’t think Indian companies regard the Philippines as some sort of competitive space, really the approach is collaborative endeavor where we can both grow.” 

India and the Philippines agreed in 2020 to enter into a preferential trading deal, and discussions on the terms of reference are ongoing.  

“I do hope this process can be taken up quickly. Apparently, there are some capacity issues at our end in terms of the processing of these agreements as… we do have a range of agreements we are working on,” Mr. Kumaran said. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan