Marcos thanks India for rice export amid drought

PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Wednesday, March 27, 2024, thanked India for allowing the exportation of 295,000 metric tons of non-basmati white rice to the Philippines.
PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Wednesday, March 27, 2024, thanked India for allowing the exportation of 295,000 metric tons of non-basmati white rice to the Philippines.Bongbong Marcos Facebook page

Marcos expressed gratitude to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi through India’s Minister of External Affairs, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, during a courtesy call to the chief executive in Malacañang.

“I’d like to thank you and please extend my gratitude to your Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) for the timely provision of imported rice that we bought from India. The very critical… a very crucial time since we are in the right now suffering the effects [of] drought,” said Marcos.

“I hope… we hope to do better and I hope to continue this trade with India, but not only in agri products but in other [areas]. The ambassador has been working very hard to promote all of these different exchanges and welcome once again,” he added.

Marcos conveyed his intention to deepen collaboration with India in various areas such as agriculture, infrastructure and defense.

The chief executive noted that the Philippines is focusing on agriculture to ensure food security.

India, the world’s largest rice exporter, banned the export of non-basmati rice in July 2023 in a bid to allay the rise in prices in its domestic market.

In October 2023, India approved shipping 295,000 metric tons of non-basmati white rice to the Philippines, the highest allocation it gave to a foreign country after lifting the restriction to specific nations.

Meanwhile, amid concerns that the world’s oceans are becoming more dangerous to commercial shipping, Marcos said the Philippines and India agreed to work together to ensure maritime security.

The chief executive noted the important contribution of Filipino seafarers manning the world’s merchant ships, whether tankers, cruise ships, and other vessels.

Almost a quarter of the world’s seafarers are Filipinos, according to recent data.

“So, that kind of partnership, we have just rationalized our — the system, the local system for the support of our local seafarers because before it has been a little bit haphazard but now I think we have— we made some sense of it and I think we will be going to be a little bit to a great advantage,” Marcos said.

“So, which means we’re ready to join up and if there are opportunities for us to work together. It really is at a crisis point of shipping. And maybe we can find something that we can do together to ease the situation at least a little bit until it becomes — the conflict becomes less heated,” he added.

Modi recognized the need for the two countries to start looking for where they can do more to work together, hoping to find new things as they address the global picture.

While India and the Philippines are non-traditional partners in terms of maritime issues, Marcos said, “it serves a purpose for us to start thinking about that because the world is like that already, very closely connected.”

MV True Confidence

Marcos also extended the country’s appreciation for the Indian Navy’s rescue and assistance to the Filipino crew members of MV True Confidence, which was attacked off the coast of Yemen earlier this month, resulting in the death of two Filipino seafarers.

The 13 Filipino seamen were safely returned home.

Marcos also acknowledged the support of the Indian government in upholding Philippine sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea, considering it as “an important development” for the Filipino people.

“We have many shared interests, primary of, that is to maintain the peace in our areas and so this is a concern now, not only of India or of the Philippines alone, but the entire world,” Marcos told Minister Jaishankar.

“So, whatever it is that we can do to make the situation better, in partnership with India, which certainly be an important development for us,” he added. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)


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