By John Ezekiel J. Hirro

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday night assured President Rodrigo Duterte that the Philippines would “definitely benefit” from India’s Covid-19 vaccine once it finishes development, the Palace said.

Malacañang said Modi, over a 25-minute phone call with Duterte Tuesday night, promised the country continued supply of affordable medicines and Covid-19 pharmaceutical products.

“Prime Minister Modi likewise said that India is ready to extend all possible cooperation to the Philippines and that the Philippines will definitely benefit from the vaccine that India is developing,” Malacañang said in a statement Tuesday.

Modi in a tweet said the two countries would “cooperate to reduce the health and economic impact of the pandemic, and to give shape to our common vision for the Indo-Pacific region.”

He also thanked Duterte for taking care of the Indian community in the country.

Duterte lauded India’s management of the Covid-19 pandemic, noting the country’s 2.82-percent fatality rate, which is among the lowest in the world.

Modi likewise congratulated Duterte for his leadership, noting the government’s “effective management of the Covid-19 situation in the Philippines,” Malacañang said.

Duterte said India’s leading role as producer and source of affordable and accessible medicine demonstrates the country’s “commitment to cooperation and to good neighborliness.”

“Both leaders expressed appreciation for the cooperation extended to ensure the welfare of their citizens in each other’s territory, as also for their repatriation home, during the ongoing health crisis,” India’s Ministry of External Affairs’ statement read.

The Indian premier also conveyed his best wishes to Duterte and all Filipinos for the forthcoming Philippine Independence Day.