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Philippines eyes closer military ties with India

ANN | Philip C. Tubeza |

The Philippines is looking at improving military ties with India after President Duterte’s official visit to New Delhi, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Sunday.

Lorenzana said Manila was eyeing the possibility of “military-to-military cooperation” with India, besides the purchase of military equipment for the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ modernisation program.

“Yes, we are looking at a military-to-military cooperation, including defense equipment that we can buy from them,” Lorenzana said.

Warships

The defence chief said that the Philippines was also eyeing warships from the South Asian country, which had built its own aircraft carriers and was planning to build six nuclear attack submarines.

“Yes, in fact, one of their shipbuilding companies actually was the initial winner of the two frigates, but was disqualified in the second round of prequalification process,” Lorenzana said.

Lorenzana was referring to the Philippine Navy’s P15. 7-billion frigate acquisition project, which was eventually awarded to Hyundai Heavy Industries of South Korea.

The defense chief was part of President Duterte’s delegation when he visited India last week to attend the India-Asean Special Commemorative Summit.

Manila’s plan to boost its military ties with New Delhi comes as India moves to improve its ties with Southeast Asian countries in the face of China’s emergence as the dominant power in the region.