India seeks defense, maritime partnership

India seeks defense, maritime partnership

FOLLOWING the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) release of the 2023 edition of its standard map, Indian Ambassador to the Philippines Shambhu Kumaran said that India wants an expanded defense and maritime security partnership with the Philippines.

“India would like to expand the navy engagement between New Delhi and Manila because both have ‘high’ and ‘common’ stakes in the region,” said Ambassador Kumaran during a press briefing at the Indian Embassy in Taguig City on Friday.

Indian Ambassador to the Philippines Shambhu Kumaran.  PHOTO BY J. GERARD SEGUIA

Indian Ambassador to the Philippines Shambhu Kumaran. PHOTO BY J. GERARD SEGUIA

Indian Ambassador to the Philippines Shambhu Kumaran. PHOTO BY J. GERARD SEGUIA

The Indian envoy was referring to China’s recently released standard map, which now includes parts of self-ruled Taiwan and most of the West Philippine Sea.

The image was released by China’s Ministry of Natural Resources on August 28, according to the state-run website China Daily.

Kumaran told reporters that India rejects the 2023 standard map released by Beijing, saying that they would express their solidarity with the sentiment in the Philippines with regard to the effort that he calls “cartographic expansionism.”

Get the latest news

delivered to your inbox

Sign up for The Manila Times newsletters

By signing up with an email address, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

The Chinese 2023 standard map lays claim to the Indian State of Arunachal Pradesh and the Aksai Chin Plateau, as well as to the exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Brunei and Taiwan.

“I do see the possibility of greater engagement in the maritime domain. As to what it will take, we have to depend on the evolution of the situation, he added.

Kumaran believes that India should have more ships coming to the Philippines in the future.

India has recently joined several other countries in supporting the Philippines and calling on China to adhere to international law amid its continued illegal claim over the West Philippine Sea, a part of the bigger South China Sea.

“We do subscribe to the view that there has to be an adherence to the rules-based order and that there cannot be coercion; that any dispute that exists should be solved peacefully through means of dialogue,” the Indian ambassador said, stressing that “anything that deviates from this, I think, unites all of us, especially like-minded countries, democracies, such as India and the Philippines.

Kumaran said India also has a territorial dispute with China, which has put the relations between the two countries in a “difficult phase.”

The coast guards of the Philippines and India recently held their first-ever bilateral talks, which aimed at discussing efforts to ensure safe and secure seas through boosting maritime ties and cooperation on maritime law enforcement, search and rescue, and pollution response.

Kumaran said it is very logical that large countries and fellow democracies, like India and the Philippines, should build a defense partnership because of the belief that strengthening our national security capabilities will bring greater stability.

He said that India also wants to see continued freedom of navigation amid incidents of harassment in the waters.

The Indian diplomat recalled that in February 2022, then Foreign Affairs secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and his Indian counterpart Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar had a wide-ranging dialogue on cooperation in health, trade and investments, science and technology, defense and security, and tourism. They also exchanged views on current regional and global issues, he said.

“As maritime countries, the Philippines and India, both at the crossroads of the busiest sea lanes in the world, know the critical role of the rule of law in maintaining stability on the water, that most unstable element yet so vital to the life and thriving of nations,” Locsin was reported as saying.

“India has been our partner in promoting peace and security in the region, as well as in advocating the rule of law in the face of armed ambition and the anarchy that follows it,” Locsin added.

Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.