India-Philippines to strengthen defence cooperation; to sign Enhanced Maritime Cooperation pact

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Indian ambassador to the Philippines, Shambhu Kumaran, has discussed maritime preparation with the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in Manila.

Indian ambassador and PCG Commandant Admiral Artemio M Abu discussed ways to strengthen maritime cooperation.

India and the Philippines are exploring various avenues to enhance their defence cooperation, with a particular emphasis on maritime security.

Building on the strategic partnership, PCG Commandant Admiral Abu and Ambassador Kumaran established priorities, capabilities, authority, limitations, and procedures relating to marine domain awareness and law enforcement operations.

During the discussion, India and the Philippines outlined various procedures when exchanging data on threat evaluations and particular targets of interest.

Highlighting the cooperation in the broader realm of Indo-pacific, Ambassador Kumaran tweeted, “Thank you Admiral Abu for the warmth of your welcome and substantive discussions. Look forward to working with you and the entire @coastguardph team to implement the next steps in our partnership towards a safe and secure Indo-Pacific.”

Earlier, Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the Philippines (SFA), Enrique A Manalo, was in India from June 27 to 30 where he and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar expressed keen interest to continue to work together in this sector. Both sides agreed to hold regular official level interaction among defence agencies. India also announced the opening of the resident defence attaché office in Manila.

India has also offered Philippines a concessional Line of Credit (LoC) for defence cooperation. According to the reports, India has extended the concessional LOC for the acquisition of naval assets, and expansion of training and joint exercises on maritime security and disaster response, among others.

On maritime cooperation, both ministers acknowledged the growing importance of the maritime sector and pledged to continue the bilateral Maritime Dialogue on hydrography.

India and Philippines agreed on the utility of maritime domain awareness. They called for early operationalization of the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the White Shipping Agreement between the Indian Navy (IN) and the Philippines Coast Guard (PCG).

Both leaders looked forward to the signing of the MoU on Enhanced Maritime Cooperation between the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) and Philippines Coast Guard (PCG).

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