• Melo Acuna

Philippine and Indian leaders talk about COVID-19 and mutual cooperation

President Duterte talks with India’s Prime Minister Modi

MANILA – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte engaged in a productive telephone conversation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the Republic of India in the evening of June 9,2020. The phone call lasted for 25 minutes.

In a statement released by the Office of the Presidential Protocol and Office of the Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs late Monday afternoon, the two leaders promised as partner countries with key roles to play in the Indo-Pacific region, “to cooperate in the fight against COVID-19.”

“The leaders reaffirmed their shared commitment to harness international and bilateral cooperation to effective address the coronavirus pandemic,” the statement said.

It was learned President Duterte recognized India’s leading role as global producer and source of affordable medicine and “commended Prime Minister Modi for allowing India’s export of pharmaceutical products.” He said this decision showed India’s “commitment to cooperation and to good neighborliness.” He also recognized India’s efforts to develop a vaccine for COVID-19.

During the conversation, Prime Minister Modi assured President Duterte of the supply of affordable medicines and COVID-19 pharmaceutical products to the Philippines, including Hydroxychloroquine. The leader of the world’s second most populous country (1.35 billion) said India is ready to extend all possible cooperation to the Philippines and that the Philippines will “definitely benefit from the vaccine that India is developing.”

President Duterte lauded India’s efforts to manage the COVID-19 pandemic with its fatality rate of 2.82%, said to be among the lowest in the world. Prime Minister Modi congratulated President Duterte for his leadership “noting the government’s effective management of the COVID-19 situation in the Philippines.”

Both leaders recognized the importance of sharing valuable lessons and best practices on addressing COVID-19. They also conveyed appreciation for the mutual assistance in the repatriation of Filipino and Indian nationals affected by the lockdown measures during the pandemic.

They also agreed to further strengthen cooperation in the context of ASEAN-India Dialogue Partnership “with President Duterte emphasizing strengthening public health systems, food security as key areas of collaboration in calling on India to support ASEAN Response Fund for COVID-19. (Melo M. Acuña)

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Rodrigo Duterte engaged in a 25-minute telephone conversation last Sunday night. (PMIndia.gov photo/Presidential Photo/PCOO)

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