Duterte off to India on January 24 for ASEAN commemorative summit
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte will fly to India on Wednesday, January 24, for his first foreign trip of the year.
The Philippine leader, who will be in New Delhi until January 26, will attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) - India Commemorative Summit and India's Republic Day.
He is also set to have a bilateral meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Foreign Assistant Secretary Hellen de la Vega said in a Malacañang press briefing on Friday, January 19.
It will be Duterte's first time to visit India. Modi's first visit to the Philippines was in November 2017 for the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits.
Duterte will attend India's national event along with the 9 other ASEAN leaders.
Republic Day, one of India's 3 major national holidays, commemorates the day when India's Constitution came into effect.
Since 1950, India has invited heads of state as chief guests of Republic Day. Among past guests were Queen Elizabeth II and the late South African president Nelson Mandela.
This year, in honor of ASEAN-India ties, India invited all 10 ASEAN leaders as Republic Day chief guests.
Medicines from India
Aside from Duterte's scheduled bilateral meeting with Modi, Duterte will also attend the Philippine-India Business Forum on January 26.
Business agreements are expected to be signed during the event.
Duterte will meet Indian President Ram Nath Kovind when the latter hosts a luncheon for ASEAN leaders and their spouses on January 25.
De la Vega said it's possible that Duterte will speak to Indian officials about bringing more Indian medicines to Filipino consumers.
"Interest in the pharmaceutical industry is in the agenda,"she said.
After Duterte's meeting with Modi in November in Manila, the Philippine President expressed interest in bringing more Indian medicines into the Philippines.
Duterte had said he would invite Indian pharmaceutical companies to do business in the Philippines so their products can be made available to Filipinos.
India is the largest provider of generic medicine, accounting for 20% of global exports, based on volume. – Rappler.com