International Relations

Manila and New Delhi: A Partnership for the Twenty-First Century

The year 2022 marked a watershed moment in the history of the globe, as Covid-19-related limitations were gradually eased, ushering in a renewed emphasis on international trade, commerce, and strategic relationships. In this context, the Philippines and India have re-energized their cooperation after nearly three years, with the goal of strengthening bilateral connections and fostering economic rebound in the post-pandemic era.

India’s economic potential and the Philippines’ growth trajectory

  • India’s Economic Prospects and Growth Prospects:
  • Third-Largest Economy: By 2027, India is expected to be the world’s third-largest economy. This projection emphasises the country’s enormous economic potential and growth possibilities.
  • India has consistently maintained an impressive average GDP growth rate of 5.5 percent over the last decade. With this pace of growth, India is the world’s fastest-growing big economy.
  • Investment Opportunities: India’s rising economy provides multiple investment opportunities in a variety of areas, attracting both domestic and foreign investors looking to capitalise on the country’s lively market and expanding customer base.
  • The Rising Middle Class: India’s rising middle class represents a large consumer market, driving consumption and powering economic growth. The growing middle class provides opportunity for businesses and encourages economic development.
  • The Philippines’ Economic Prospects and Growth Prospects:
  • Upper-Middle-Income Status: The Philippines is on the verge of obtaining upper-middle-income status, which would indicate significant improvement in economic development and per capita income.
  • Trillion-Dollar Economy by 2033: The Philippines intends to become a trillion-dollar economy by 2033, reflecting its aggressive economic growth and prosperity ambitions.
  • Poverty Reduction and Socioeconomic strategy: President Ferdinand R Marcos Jr’s socioeconomic strategy focuses on poverty reduction and fostering long-term economic prosperity. This agenda lays the groundwork for equitable development and resilience in critical sectors like agriculture, energy, and infrastructure.
  • Empowerment and inclusivity: The Philippines prioritises empowering its people and encouraging greater inclusivity. The country seeks to establish a more equal and prosperous society by ensuring that the benefits of economic progress reach all segments of society.

The prospects for expanding trade and economic cooperation between the Philippines and India

  • Innovation and New Technologies: Both countries have thriving innovation ecosystems, as well as an increasing emphasis on technological developments. Collaborative efforts in R&D, information sharing, and technology transfer can result in the development of creative ideas and products. This collaboration has the potential to boost production, efficiency, and competitiveness in a variety of industries.
  • Clean Energy & Renewable Technologies: India has emerged as a global leader in renewable energy development, particularly in wind and solar power production. In addition, the Philippines has made significant expenditures in renewable energy technologies. There is potential for collaboration in clean energy projects that leverage India’s skills and experience, such as the adoption of advanced renewable technology, the exchange of best practises, and the promotion of sustainable energy solutions.
  • Digital Infrastructure and Connectivity: Opportunities for collaboration exist as a result of India’s “Digital India” project and the Philippines’ attempts to develop its digital infrastructure. Sharing knowledge, experiences, and technology in digitalization, e-governance, cybersecurity, and data management can all be part of this. Improving digital connectivity between the two countries can help with trade, e-commerce, and digital services.
  • Defence and Security collaboration: There is potential for closer defence and security collaboration between the Philippines and India. Contracts for defence procurement, such as the Philippines’ purchase of India’s BrahMos Shore-based Anti-Ship Missile System, mark the start of such collaborations. Both countries might investigate cooperative exercises, defence industry partnerships, and information-sharing channels in order to improve their defence capabilities and solve mutual security challenges.
  • Regional Economic Integration: The Philippines’ and India’s ASEAN activities, as well as India’s “Act East Policy,” provide possibilities for regional economic integration. Enhancing regional trade and investment flows can be accomplished by strengthening economic relations, supporting trade facilitation measures, and boosting connectivity within the ASEAN-India network. Collaboration in infrastructure development, logistics, and trade facilitation can help to enhance economic integration even further.
  • Interactions between individuals: Increasing people-to-people exchanges, such as tourism, cultural encounters, and educational collaboration, can lead to a better understanding and respect of each other’s country. This can help the Philippines and India strengthen their economic and social relations.

Economic Integration Opportunities in the Indo-Pacific area:

  • Economic integration within the Indo-Pacific area is critical for developing a vibrant and linked economic ecosystem. The Philippines and India can actively promote and participate in efforts such as ASEAN Economic Community, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and other regional economic forums.
  • Infrastructure and Connectivity Development: Collaborative efforts in infrastructure development, such as ports, roads, trains, and digital connectivity, can improve regional connectivity and assist economic growth. The Philippines and India can collaborate on infrastructure initiatives, joint investments, and partnerships to boost regional connectivity.
  • Maritime Security and Freedom of Navigation: It is critical for trade, economic activity, and regional stability in the Indo-Pacific to ensure maritime security and freedom of navigation. Collaborative activities for marine domain awareness, joint exercises, information-sharing channels, and adherence to international law, such as the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), can all help to promote regional security and stability. To address mutual marine concerns, the Philippines and India can actively participate in regional security frameworks such as the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS).
  • Climate Change and Sustainable Development: Promoting sustainable development practises, sharing best practises in climate change adaptation and mitigation, and supporting renewable energy and environmental conservation initiatives can all contribute to the region’s long-term resilience. To address these difficulties cooperatively, the Philippines and India can engage in knowledge sharing, capacity-building programmes, and joint initiatives.
  • People-to-People Exchanges and Cultural Cooperation: To expand links and increase mutual understanding among the region’s different nations, the Philippines and India can boost tourism, cultural exchanges, educational scholarships, and intellectual partnerships.
  • Multilateralism and Rules-Based system: Maintaining the ideals of a rules-based system and inclusive multilateralism is critical for regional peace and cooperation. As advocates for the rule of law, the Philippines and India can actively participate in regional multilateral platforms such as the East Asia Summit (EAS), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), and Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) to shape regional norms, promote dialogue, and address regional challenges collectively.


As the Philippines-India Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation meets for the sixth time in New Delhi, the two countries anticipate substantive conversations that will chart a road for a stronger collaboration. Building on their almost 75-year diplomatic connections and similar principles as democratic Asian republics, the Philippines and India are positioned to strengthen bilateral relations and harness their mutual interests to manage the post-pandemic era’s challenges and possibilities.

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