India offers operational, cyber security training to Philippines military


The Indian ambassador also held talks on enhancing defence industry dialogue, including discussions on aerospace platforms, air defence systems, and the upgrade of artilleries…writes Ateet Sharma

India has offered to upgrade the Philippines’ artillery and conduct military courses for its armed forces personnel on operational readiness and cyber security as part of the strengthening defence cooperation between the two countries.

Earlier this month, Philippines’ Defence Secretary Jose Faustino Junior held a meeting with the Ambassador of India to Manila, Shambhu Santha Kumaran, to discuss potential collaboration in addressing traditional and non-traditional security issues concerning both countries.

In the meeting which took place at Camp Aguinaldo – the General Headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines – the top official of the country’s Department of National Defence (DND) told Kumaran that India is among the Philippines’ “important partners” in the Indo-Pacific region.

He highlighted the importance of sustaining defence engagement between both countries, particularly the conduct of high-level dialogue, education and training exchanges, information sharing, and defence industry and logistics cooperation.

In addition, the defence secretary mentioned the DND’s interest in welcoming a resident Indian defence attache in Manila.

The Indian ambassador also held talks on enhancing defence industry dialogue, including discussions on aerospace platforms, air defence systems, and the upgrade of artilleries.

He further recognized the importance of developing a Self-Reliant Defence Posture in meeting the security challenges of recent times.

“Both officials also exchanged views and insights on various geopolitical challenges. Faustino underscored the critical role of strengthening partnership among like-minded countries, especially India and the ASEAN member states, to maintain stability in the region. Notably, both the Philippines and India work closely together under the ambit of the ASEAN Defence Minister’s Meeting (ADMM)-Plus,” according to a DND statement.

After President Rodrigo Duterte made way for successor Ferdinand Marcos Junior in June, Faustino replaced Delfin Lorenzana as the Officer-in-Charge (OIC) of the country’s defence department.

Kumaran also conveyed a congratulatory message from India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to the Senior Undersecretary for his appointment as the OIC, DND.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been emphasising that the island country of Southeast Asia plays an important role in India’s Act East Policy and its Indo-Pacific Vision.

As reported by earlier, India will begin equipping Manila with the medium-range ramjet supersonic Brahmos cruise missiles next year.

The Philippines will thus become the first foreign nation to acquire the missile weapon system developed through the joint venture between India (Defence Research and Development Organisation) and Russia (Military Industrial Consortium Mashinostroyenia).

Worried about China’s strategic expansion into the South China Sea, Manila had signed a contract worth $375 million with Brahmos Aerospace for the Philippine Navy’s Shore-based Anti-ship Missile System acquisition project in January this year.

At the crossroads of the busiest sea lanes in the world, including the Strait of Malacca, both India and the Philippines realised the critical role the Brahmos deal will play to safeguard the Indo-Pacific region.

“As the world’s fastest supersonic cruise missiles, the Brahmos Missiles will provide deterrence against any attempt to undermine our sovereignty and sovereign rights, especially in the West Philippine Sea,” Lorenzana had commented after the signing of the contract in January, earlier this year.

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