Indo-Pacific Partnership – India keen to boost partnership with Philippines amid Border tensions with China

Indo-Pacific partnership – India very much interested to boost bilateral ties and partnership with countries in pacific region, learned citing eurasiantimes

Indo-Pacific partnership, india philippines relations
Indo-Pacific partnership, india philippines relations

Indo-Pacific Partnership – According to reports in Economic Times, while the conversation between PM Modi and President Duterte focussed on the fight against COVID-19, both leaders also expressed gratification in its bilateral ties, including defence partnership, with PM Modi remarking how India sees the Philippines as a “vital partner” in the Indo-Pacific region.

Philippines President Duterte reportedly wanted India to play a bigger role in the Indo-Pacific region. As part of growing defence partnership, Philippines Navy Chief Giovanni Carlo J. Bacordo applauded Indian Navy for assisting one of its navy vessels after a fire broke out in engine room which injured two Philippines navy personnel.

A fire had broken in Philippines’ ship BRP Ramon Alcaraz on May 7. India not only restored the ship free of cost at Navy Shipyard in Kochi but took care of both the personnel in Indian hospitals.

The Philippine Navy in a letter to Indian Navy chief wrote, “your support in this unfortunate accident is way beyond our expectations and it is a testament of your sincerity in deepening our Navy to Navy partnership. Rest assured that the Philippine Navy remains committed to this Partnership. We hope to expand this relationship as we seek better ways to make our seas safer and more secure for everyone…fervent wishes for your continuing success in leading the Indian Navy’s sustained resolve to be a global maritime force”.

Earlier as EurAsian Times reported, the Philippines cancelled its plan to end a critical defence pact with the US in favour of China. The Philippines-US VFA is a bilateral agreement permits the US troops to visit the Philippines and conduct joint military exercises and operations in the region vital for the security of the Indo-Pacific region.

According to Richard Heydarian, an Asia-based academic, columnist and author, the first thing this ‘change of heart’ highlights the Philippines’ growing concerns over China’s strategic exploitation in the South China Sea during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has created a critical security vacuum in Asia. “China’s expansionism has been creeping as its rivals struggle to contain coronavirus outbreaks,” he said.

China has been ramping up its military operations in the South China Sea which has tormented its South Asian neighbours. “China may have further spooked its neighbours when a source within its Army suggested that it may soon impose an Air Defense Identification Zone across disputed waters to monitor and even restrict international navigation and overflight,” observed Heydarian.

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