Phl, India enhance ‘defense industry dialogue’

The Indian government is encouraging the Philippines to further enhance their defense industry dialogue, particularly entering talks on aerospace platforms, air defense systems, and upgrade of artilleries.

Indian ambassador to the Philippines, Shambhu Kumaran, made this recommendation during his visit to the Department of National Defense officer-in-charge, Senior Undersecretary Jose Faustino Jr. on 6 October at Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo in Quezon City.

In a statement Saturday, Faustino noted that India has been the country’s important ally within the Into-Pacific.

The DND chief emphasized the need for the Philippines and India to sustain their joint defense engagement, particularly the conduct of high-level dialogues, education, and training exchanges, information sharing, as well as defense industry and logistics cooperation.

On 28 January, the two countries signed a contract for the acquisition of the Indian-made BrahMos medium-range ramjet supersonic cruise missiles, worth PHP18.9 billion with the initial delivery slated by next year.

The contract is part of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ modernization program and is seen to strengthen the Philippines and India’s bilateral defense relations, especially in the field of logistics and defense industry cooperation.

Kumaran thanked the Philippines for acquiring the Indian-made defense equipment while recognizing the importance of developing a “self-reliant defense posture” in terms of addressing the current security challenges.

The ambassador reiterated the willingness of the Indian Armed Forces to offer training courses and expand military cooperation with the AFP, especially in boosting the Filipino soldiers’ operational readiness and cyber security defense.

Faustino and Kumaran have also exchanged views and insights on various geopolitical challenges being confronted by the two countries.

During their meeting, Faustino underscored the need to strengthen partnerships with India as well as with the other member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, in a bid to maintain stability in the region.

The Philippines and India likewise welcomed opportunities to further improve their defense and military relations, including potential collaboration in addressing traditional and non-traditional security issues concerning both countries.

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