India, Philipiines must make Look East Policy, a diplomatic reality

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Sun Feb 5 16:44:08 UTC 2006

>>From WebIndia, Manila | February 04, 2006 8:17:20 PM IST

India, Philipiines must make Look East Policy, a diplomatic reality, says
President Kalam

Describing India and the Philippines as demographically very young
countries, President A.P.J.Abdul Kalam, who is here on a four-day state
visit, said on Saturday, that in a rapidly globalising world, both
countries faced a dual challenge, but also needed to make the "Look East"
policy a diplomatic and strategic reality. On the domestic front, Kalam
said that both India and the Philippines faced the onerous task and
responsibility of "managing political, economic and social change in an
environment of rising expectations and growing disparities," while in the
global context, the challenge was that "of securing an international
environment conducive to meeting our developmental aspirations."

"These challenges are interlinked and any individual success or failure
has the potential to affect all of us," Kalam said at a state banquet
hosted in his honour by Philippines President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. He
further went on to say that the countries of South East Asia, including
the Philippines, constitute an extended neighbourhood with whom India's
links went back many centuries.

"There is a distinctive Indian impress in this part of Asia, a religious,
cultural and linguistic stamp which our seafarers brought via Indonesia
and the Malaya peninsula, well before the era of European colonisation.
Over the years, the Western world brought in its own cultural baggage
which overlies this matrix, changing earlier layers in interesting ways,
but never entirely obliterating them," Kalam said. "A nation's wealth is
its young generation and Governments' role is best performed in energising
our youth to achieve their dreams. In my country, this young generation,
aided by early and massive Governmental support to Institutions of higher
education and a heritage fortuitous in this case of English language
proficiency, has enabled India to emerge as a world class service provider
in Information Technology. We are now endeavouring to develop core
competencies in selected critical technologies of a higher order, both to
address our national priorities and to market our companies abroad," the
President said, adding that the Philippines too has worked hard and become
a credible IT-enabled service provider to the world.

India, he said, "is ready and willing to join hands in selective
partnership with you." Kalam , however, acknowledged that both countries
were in competition with each other for world markets, and therefore, he
said: "This should only make us more respectful of each others abilities
and willing to engage in serious "co-optition", a word coined, I believe,
by a prominent Filipino gentleman, Dr. Bernardo Villegas." As far as the
information technology sector was concerned, he said that both countries
"have to travel together to transform our nations as a knowledge powered
society. On our part, we would like to learn from your animation and
graphic skills and also to develop caring and nurturing services, such as
Tourism and Nursing, for which the Philippino is justly renowned."

On bilateral relations, he said that it was a matter of satisfaction for
him to note that relations were taking off after a long period of
stagnation. "Our trade last year grew by 30 percent to 577 million dollars
and for the first time, exports from the Philippines to India grew faster
than did our exports to you. Our companies have been showing interest in
exploring, separately and jointly, opportunities for investment in IT,
pharmaceuticals, steel, textiles, motorcycles and auto-parts, in mining
and infrastructure. Prospects for technical cooperation between India and
the Philippines are excellent in sectors such as dairy and other
agro-based industry, CNG for public transport, bio-and thermal energy and
in space and defence- related industries. We should work together to
increase our bilateral trade to two billion dollars before 2010, " he

He also said that the convergence of views on global trade issues under
the WTO and the common resolve to combat terrorism provided a valuable
base for mutual understanding. "Let us resolve to unleash the existing
human resource for which our two countries are famous and enable easier
access to each other's shores. I am certain that in doing so, we shall
find much gain," he said. He concluded by saying that India was grateful
to the Philippines for supporting its participation, in the first East
Asia Summit held in Kuala Lumpur last November.

"We hope this would lead to an Asian Economic Community over time. Our
Prime Minister is looking forward to visiting the Philippines later this
year when it assumes Chairmanship of ASEAN. Independent India has always
viewed its destiny as inseparable from that of Asia. The quest at Bandung
in 1955 to establish a peaceful, prosperous and equitable world, led
India's Government to unveil, a decade ago, its "Look East Policy", which
has today become a very dynamic part of our diplomacy," Kalam said. (ANI)

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