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VISA TO INDIA FOR FILIPINOS & OTHERS GOES ONLINE.

[Delivered in the Kingdom of Cambodia on November 19, 2012]
I join my colleagues in expressing great appreciation for the significant contributions made by India to the promotion of peace, progress, and shared prosperity in the region.

India is a strong, strategic partner of ASEAN. India is the world’s tenth largest economy and a G20 major economy, the world’s largest democracy, the world’s fourth largest military power, and a major advancer of science and technology. Indeed, India could play a more prominent role in the region.

In 20 years of dialogue relations, we have been seeing the very robust strengthening of mutually beneficial engagements in trade and tourism, as well as in political security, and in economic and socio-cultural cooperation. It is also very encouraging that these engagements will very likely further expand and deepen with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and the ASEAN-India Free Trade Area.

I hope that my esteemed colleagues here share my view that we desire greater economic partnership and liberal trade between our regions, because they are the means to sustain the economic growth of our respective countries and to help reduce poverty and narrow development gaps in our respective societies.

However, the hope of ever-increasing trade and sustained regional economic growth–and the hope for social development that it would bring for our peoples–is premised on maintaining lasting peace and stability in our contiguous regions. As nations partaking of the dividends of prosperity and progress, all of us here are stakeholders in the peace and security of the region. Specifically, ASEAN and India have contiguous waters and therefore share a common need to protect and preserve our oceans and seas.

Since a great deal of our trade and resources flow through our seas, the Philippines views that ASEAN and India will mutually benefit from jointly addressing threats to maritime stability through peaceful means in accordance with international law.

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