India hopes to expand its interaction with the Philippine Navy and does not rule out joint patrols because “both countries share priorities in maintaining freedom and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.”
According to the Philippine state media agency, PNA (Philippine News Agency), in Manila, on September 1st, Indian Ambassador to the Philippines Shambhu Kumaran expressed his optimism about opportunities for cooperation between India and the Philippines in naval defence. He mentioned that defence is a relatively new contact area between New Delhi and Manila.
Ambassador Kumaran stated, “India does not rule out the possibility of joint patrols with the Philippine Navy, but there are currently no concrete proposals in this regard.”
Ambassador Kumaran added, “We believe that strengthening the security capabilities of our countries will lead to greater stability and, through stability, progress and prosperity for this region.”
Mr Kumaran emphasized that New Delhi’s intent to enhance defence relations with Manila is “not aimed at any country” but rather a “logical step for two neighbouring democratic countries.”
He added, “We do not think this is motivated by anything, but we certainly hope that the development in this region is rules-based, sensitive to the interests of smaller countries, and avoids aggressive actions because we have common interests in this region.”
Ambassador Kumaran expressed India’s desire to see the Indo-Pacific region develop “peacefully” while maintaining “freedom of navigation, unimpeded trade, and overflight.”
Mr Kumaran referred to China’s new map as “cartographic expansionism” and supported the sentiments expressed by the Philippines regarding this “cartographic expansionism.”
He stated, “It is very important to express our positions and viewpoints.” “I think India and the Philippines have effectively done that.”
According to PNA, India this year, for the first time, called for compliance with the 2016 South China Sea arbitration ruling, which declared China’s extensive claims based on its “nine-dash line” in the region invalid.
The report mentioned, “India, along with the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam, protested against China’s new standard map, which also included several geographical features in the West Philippine Sea within China’s borders.”
The report went on to state that the version of China’s map that was released in 2023 includes Arunachal Pradesh, the Doklam Plateau, and the territory of Aksai Chin, a region that is controlled by China but is claimed by India.