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Indian Navy’s Eastern Fleet Ships arrive in Manila to participate in Maritime Partnership Exercise

Eastern Fleet Ships arrive in Manila, Philippines (Photo: @indiannavy)

Indian Navy ships INS Delhi, INS Shakti and INS Kiltan arrived in Manila, Philippines, to further strengthen the longstanding friendship and maritime cooperation between the two countries.

The Eastern Fleet Ships arrived in Manila on Sunday.

The ships were accorded a warm welcome by the Philippines Navy.

Moreover, the visit is part of the Operational Deployment of the Indian Navy’s Eastern Fleet to the South China Sea.

During the visit, personnel from both navies will engage in a wide range of professional interactions, including Subject Matter Expert Exchange (SMEE), sports fixtures, cross-deck visits, cultural visits, and collaborative community outreach programmes.

During the visit, the ships will also participate in a Maritime Partnership Exercise (MPX) with the Philippine Navy.

Tensions between China and the Philippines have escalated over the Scarborough Shoal as Manila has taken a more assertive approach in disputed areas.

Approximately 220 kilometres off the coast of the Philippines and within its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), the shoal is a traditional fishing ground used by multiple nations and located close to important shipping channels.

Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), an EEZ extends about 370 km from a country’s coast.

China has claimed almost the entire South China Sea rejecting claims from other nations, including the Philippines, and an international ruling that states that these claims have no legal basis, according to an Al Jazeera report. Brunei, Malaysia, and Vietnam also claim the parts of the sea.

India and the Philippines formally established diplomatic relations in November 1949, shortly after both countries gained independence.

The relations between the two countries have been cordial and muted.

Indian Navy and Coast Guard ships regularly visit the Philippines. The participation of officers of the armed forces of both countries in various specialized training courses in each other’s countries has intensified as have visits by National Defence College delegations.