• Melo Acuna

ASEAN-India discuss cooperation

Philippines joins 22nd ASEAN-India Senior Officials’ Meeting

MANILA – The Philippines took part in the recent 22nd ASEAN-India Senior Officials’ Meeting (AISOM) last Thursday, July 16 via video conference.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, it was originally scheduled as in-person meeting in Bangkok, Thailand but shifted to the digital platform due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Meeting was co-chaired by Permanent Secretary of Foreign Affairs Ministry and SOM Leader of Thailand Busaya Mathelin and Secretary (East) of the External Affairs Ministry and SOM Leader of India Vijay Thakur Singh.

India, known as “the pharmacy of the world”, ASEAN-India cooperation can play a significant role to curb the COVID-19 pandemic and the participants discussed the need for closer and coordinated response to the pandemic and enhanced cooperation in areas of public health including the ramping up gene sequencing and research development for medicines, vaccine production and distribution, among others.

The Philippines discussed measures to counter terrorism in the context of COVID-19 and highlighted that societies which increasingly use digital communication tools, networks and platforms are more susceptible to cyberthreats and attacks of cyberterrorism and may also inadvertently provide a wider platform for terrorists. The Philippines underscored the increased connectivity between terrorist and criminal actors and vulnerable groups. The Philippines also mentioned the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on migrants, women, children among others, and highlighted the need to identify and calibrate targeted measures to address the vulnerable sectors.

The participants also discussed strategies to strengthen ASEAN-India cooperation in economic, maritime, enhanced regional connectivity, science and technology, sustainable development, disaster risk reduction and management and consular assistance to stranded nationals in ASEAN and India.

DFA ASEAN Director-General Asst, Secretary Junever Mahilum-West represented the Philippines in the meeting. (Melo M. Acuña)

Temporary SOM Leader of the Philippines and ASEAN Director-General Asst. Secretary Junever Mahilum-West (top, center) delivers her interventions during the 22nd ASEAN-India Senior Officials' Meeting (AISOM) held via videoconference. ASEAN_India SOM Co-chair Vijay Thakur Singh and Asst. Secretary <Mahilum-West along with other ASEAN officials reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen further AEAN-India's strategic partnership. (DFA Photos)




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