India's Modi hails the Philippines as 'services powerhouse'

MANILA, Philippines – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, November 13, likened the Philippines to India and hailed it as a powerhouse in the services sector.

"The Philippines is a services powerhouse just as India is. And, just as in India, here in [the] Philippines also, the government wants to see change, bring about inclusive growth, develop infrastructure, and fight corruption," Modi said on Monday at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Business and Investment Summit in Parañaque City.

Modi said it doesn't come as a surprise to him that many Indian IT companies are investing in the Philippines.

"No wonder so many of our top IT companies have invested here. They are creating thousands of jobs and promoting the Philippines' services sector worldwide," he added. (READ: India's Modi opens resilient rice laboratory in the Philippines)

Modi's praises for the Philippines as a services powerhouse come as the Philippines challenges India's dominance as the top business process outsourcing (BPO) destination in the world.

The growth of the Philippines' BPO industry, however, is seen to slow down to 9% until 2022.

Act East Policy

Modi also discussed his country's pivot to its East Asian neighbors, dubbed the Act East Policy (AEP).

He opened his speech with an enumeration of the similarities between India and the Philippines. (READ: Duterte wants more Indian medicines available in PH)

"We are both pluralistic societies and vibrant democracies. Our economies are among the fastest growing economies in the world. We have large, young, and aspiring populations that are innovative and enterprising," Modi said.

He pitched India to business leaders attending the summit, saying that reforms have made it "very easy to open [a] business there." (READ: India's Modi meets young Filipino amputee who wants to be a cop)

"India has climbed 30 places in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index this year. It is the biggest jump by any country this year and a recognition of India's long-term reform trajectory," Modi said. – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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