External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar says, India supports Philippines in upholding its national sovereignty

External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar has said that India supports the Philippines in upholding its national sovereignty. He said this while briefing the media along with his Philippine counterpart Enrique Manalo in Manila today. He said, every country has the right to uphold and enforce its national sovereignty. The statement came amid Philippines’s maritime dispute with China in the South China Sea.

Dr Jaishankar asserted that India is strongly supportive of ASEAN’s centrality, cohesion and unity. He said, India is also convinced that the progress and prosperity of this region is best served by staunch adherence to a rules-based order. The External Affairs Minister said, UNCLOS 1982 is particularly important in that regard as the constitution of the seas. He said, all parties must adhere to it in its entirety, both in letter and in spirit.

Dr Jaishankar said, as the world changes, it is essential that India and the Philippines cooperate more closely to shape the emerging model. He said, there has been very perceptible growth in bilateral ties between India and the Philippines recently. The External Affairs Minister said, India and Philippines are not only important maritime nations, but both are at two ends of the Indo Pacific. He said, India and the Philippines make an exceptional commitment to global shipping. Dr Jaishankar said, now, as the relationship grows, it is natural to look at defence and security. He said it is also equally important that both countries look at other aspects of cooperation. The External Affairs Minister said, India and Philippines bilateral trade has crossed the three billion dollars level last year and expressed confidence that it will continue to grow.

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