MANILA—Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce (Philippines) Inc. (FICCI) is seeking closer economic cooperation between Manila and New Delhi, its president Rex Daryanani has said.
In an interview, Daryanani said there is a need to strengthen people-to-people relations between the Philippines and India that would result in advancing the two nations’ economic relations.
“We are far away from where it needs to be,” he told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
“Indians in India know about the Philippines, but not as much as we want them to know. Filipinos, in general, know India exists, but as a destination, do Filipinos choose India as a tourist place to go for a holiday? Not yet. Because we’re lacking people-to-people interaction.”
The FICCI chief said India has invited President Rodrigo Duterte to go on a state visit to the South Asian country.
“We spoke to the President if he would like to visit India on a state visit. He has given the go signal to explore possibilities,” said Daryanani.
Moreover, Daryanani said the business group is in talks with the Philippine Airlines (PAL) to bring back direct flights between the Philippines and India.
It was in 2011 when PAL halted direct flights to New Delhi due to “commercial reasons”.
“As we increase people-to-people interaction, and as people get to learn what India or the Philippines has to offer, stronger economic ties will follow,” the executive noted.
He added that the two countries can boost partnership in the sectors of information technology, business process outsourcing, and pharmaceutical.
Daryanani mentioned that Indian businessmen are optimistic with the growth of the country under the Duterte administration.
Meanwhile, the FICCI has partnered with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for Go Negosyo, under which the business group will mentor micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
The organization has also donated PHP3-million worth of projects in Sulu, a 20-unit “Kapatid Village”.
“We heed the call of President Duterte to help people in Sulu,” Daryanani said.