India–Philippines relations

India–Philippines relations



India–Philippines relations refers to the foreign relations between the Republic of India and the Republic of the Philippines. Diplomatic relations between India and the Philippines was established in 1949. India maintains an embassy in Manila, whilst the Philippines maintains one in New Delhi. Treaty of Friendship was signed between the Philippines and India on 11 July 1952.


Early History

Indian elements in Philippine culture point to early relations between the two societies. However, some works posit that the influx of Indian cultural elements into the Philippines is understood only in terms of the developments in the intervening regions between these two areas, the Malayan Peninsula and the Indonesian Archipelago, where there was an intensified process of Indian influences from the 2nd through the late 14th centuries CE.

Through the Srivijaya and Majapahit empires, Indian influences would have reached the Philippines from the 10th through the early 14th centuries, based on the events in these two regions, and through direct migration from the Indian subcontinent to the Philippines.[1] Artifacts of Indian orientation have been found in a lot of islands in the Philippines.[2] The golden image of the female Boddhisattva which was found in Agusan, was related to the development of Buddhism in Southeast Asia dating back to the late 13th and 14th centuries. The introduction of Sanskrit words and literature may be dated to the 10th and 12th centuries. Until now, Sanskrit words are still found in abundance in various Philippine languages. Then there is the folk narrative among the Maranao, known as Maharadia Lawana which shows an Indian character and whose story is very similar to the Indian epic Ramayana.

Colonial era

During the period 1762-1764, during the various Anglo-Spanish wars, 600 Sepoy (or native Indian) troops arrived in the Philippines as part of the military expedition of the East India Company. When the British troops withdrew, many of the Sepoys mutinied and refused to leave. They settled in what is now Cainta, Rizal. The region in and around Cainta still has many Sepoy descendants.[3][4]

During the 18th century, there was robust trade between Manila and the Coromandel Coast of Bengal, involving Philippine exports of tobacco, silk, cotton, indigo, sugar cane and coffee.

Post World War II era

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Philippine President Benigno Aquino III in Napyidaw, Myanmar (2014)

The Philippines established diplomatic relations with India on 26 November 1949.[5] The first Philippine envoy to India was the late Foreign Secretary Narciso Ramos.

Five years after India’s independence in 1947, the Philippines and India signed a Treaty of Friendship on 11 July 1952 in Manila[6] to strengthen the friendly relations existing between the two countries. Soon after, the Philippine Legation in New Delhi was established and then elevated to an Embassy.[7] However, due to foreign policy differences as a result of the bipolar alliance structure of the Cold War, the development of bilateral relations was stunted. It was only in 1976 that relations started to normalise when Aditya Birla, one of India’s successful industrialists, met with then President Ferdinand E. Marcos to explore possibilities of setting up joint ventures in the Philippines. This resulted in the establishment of Indo-Philippine Textile Mills, Inc. (Indo-Phil), then the largest Indian investment in the country. Indo-Phil currently employs 2,000 Filipino workers and supplies 40% of Philippine domestic demand for yarn.

In commemoration of the 60th anniversary of Philippines–India diplomatic relations, and pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 1924, the month of November 2009 was proclaimed as Philippines–India Friendship Month by then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

The Policy Consultation Talks between the two countries were established in 2000. The talks, which are held annually and conducted by senior officials of the foreign ministries of the two countries, aimed at discussing bilateral issues and regional and international issues of common concern.

The first RP–India Security Dialogue was held in Manila on 12 March 2004. The Philippines and India agreed to establish a security dialogue that would serve as a policy forum for sharing security assessments and for reviewing and giving direction to co-operation in bilateral/regional security and defence matters.

Both countries also signed a Joint Declaration for Co-operation to Combat International Terrorism to complement the ASEAN-India Joint Declaration to Combat International Terrorism which was adopted by the Heads of Government and States of ASEAN and India on 8 October 2003 in Bali, Indonesia. The declaration seeks to enhance intelligence and information sharing on counter-terrorism measures, strengthen capacity-building efforts through training and education, capability and readiness, including training and technical assistance; and to continue working together in the fight against the cyber crime and terrorist misuse of cyber space.

The Trade Agreement between the Philippines and India was signed on 29 May 1979. In 1995, following the first Philippine Trade Mission to India, a Joint Working Group and a Joint Business Council were set up to assess and identify potentials for trade as well as identify new areas for collaboration. Since then, bilateral meetings have been held regularly.

The ASEAN–India Free Trade Area agreement signed by India in 2009 also includes Philippines as signatory.

Joint Commission on Bilateral Co-operation

The agreement to establish a Joint Commission on Bilateral Co-operation was signed during the State Visit to India of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on 5 October 2007. The establishment of the Joint Commission on Bilateral Co-operation aims to further strengthen and develop the co-operation in the field of trade, economic, scientific, technological and other fields of co-operation. The meeting of the Joint Commission will be co-chaired by the two countries’ Ministers for Foreign Affairs who will meet once every two years.

The inaugural session of the Joint Commission was held on 15 March 2011, co-chaired by Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. Del Rosario, and was held in New Delhi. During the meeting both sides agreed to move forward on co-operative initiatives in various fronts (trade, agriculture, defence).

Cultural relations

Filipino culture had Indian influences. About 30 percent of the Tagalog language were loanwords from Sanskrit. The use of brass, bronze, copper and tin in Philippine decorative arts and metal works also had Indian origin. Early Filipino literature and folklore also had Indian influences such as the Maranao epic of Darangan and the Ifugao tale of Balituk. The Philippine folk belief regarding eclipses, where some narrates that the dragon called laho bites the moon or sun to cause the phenomenon is related to the Indian belief regarding the being Rahu from Hindu tradition.[8]

Military relations

Ships from the Indian Navy and Coast Guard regularly visits the Philippines.[5]


According to India's ministry of External Affairs, India-Philippines trade is at around $1.6 billion. [9]

See also


  1. Rye 2006, p. 713
  2. Rye 2006, pp. 720–721
  3. 1 2 "India - Philippines Relations" (PDF). Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. 2 December 2012. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  4. Treaty of Friendship between the Republic of the Philippines and the Republic of India Dept. of Foreign Affairs, Philippines
  5. Embassy of the Philippines, New Delhi, India. Retrieved 2011-11-12.
  6. Hisona, Harold (14 July 2010). "The Cultural Influences of India, China, Arabia, and Japan". Philippine Almanac. Archived from the original on 1 July 2012. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  7. Philippines in dialogue with India on rubber
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