DAVAO CITY -- President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday night, January 26, arrived from his first and official visit to India, reporting the gains of his productive trip from one of Asia’s emerging economic power.

At the ASEAN-India Special Commemorative Summit meetings held in New Delhi, the chief executive said he reiterated the country’s position in maintaining and promoting open, free, stable and secure maritime spaces and responsible use of maritime domain, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region.

“Our destiny as a region is closely interlinked with the security of our seas,” he said in his speech upon arrival at the Davao International Airport in Davao City.

“Together with ASEAN Leaders and India, we reaffirmed our commitment to work as a region in our fight against the menace of terrorism and violent extremism that cross and reach our maritime borders,” he added.

In his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the president said they discussed their common concern for the welfare and protection of nationals abroad.

Duterte said he encouraged India to collaborate with ASEAN in line with the principles and standards outlined in the ASEAN Consensus on the Promotion of Migrant Workers.

At the bilateral level, Duterte said he urged India to expand the cooperation in the areas of defense, counter-terrorism and the fight against illegal drugs.

“We agreed to enhance two-way trade and investment to achieve a healthy balance of trade,” he said.

The president also reported that the Philippine and Indian business delegations forged a total of US$1.25 billion worth of investments, which will create approximately 10,000 jobs.

There are new business agreements in IT-BPO, tourism, hospitality, aviation, and pharmaceuticals that will bring positive change to people’s lives, he said.

Duterte also underscored that ASEAN can be the common platform for dialogue and, more importantly, a venue for concerted actions against the threats to the security and stability of nations in the Indo-Pacific region.

“At the regional level, we recognized that the Philippines, India, and ASEAN face similar challenges and threats on land and at sea,” he said.

“We need to go beyond consultation. More than talk, we need to move together to deter, interdict and neutralize those that seek to destabilize our region,” he stressed.

In his attendance to India’s Republic Day, the president said India has shown its growth as a democracy and an economy during the parade, adding that it clearly showed the resolve of a proud people to work together to achieve their goals and counter the dangers of its well-being as a nation.

In conclusion, Duterte made an assurance that he will do his best to develop and utilize all of the country’s potential in making it more stronger and an important player, not only in the region but in the entire community of nations. (PND)