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“Will pursue robust collaboration with India” says Philippines President Marcos jr, makes case for peace in region

Philippines President Ferdinand R Marcos Jr. (Photo: Youtube/IISS)

Philippines President Marcos Jr. became the first Philippine leader to deliver the keynote address to open the 21st edition of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-La Dialogue in Manila on Friday. In his address, Marcos Jr said that the commitment of the Philippines to ASEAN Centrality shall remain a “core element” of its foreign policy.

Marcos Jr also described India as a friend and said that Manila would continue to pursue collaboration with New Delhi.

He said, “We shall strengthen our alliance with the United States and our Strategic Partnerships with Australia, Japan, Vietnam, Brunei, and all the other member states of ASEAN.”

He also declared continued strategic partnerships with other nations and wished to make more future collaborations and cooperations, not only in defence but also in environmental, economic, people-to-people relations, and sustainable development.

“In all our multilateral engagements, we seek to bridge global conversations with our unique regional perspectives,” the President said.

“We will also pursue more robust collaboration with friends such as the Republic of Korea [and] India, amongst others,” he added.

“Geopolitics must not distract us from our fundamental duty as civil servants, as public intellectuals, as statesmen: To deliver for our peoples and to safeguard the future for the coming generations. This is the reason why we strive for stability, security, and peace,” he further said.

He stated that the maintenance of peace and stability in the Indian Ocean Region will directly impact the development of South Asian states.

“In the same vein, the economic security of East Asia depends upon the freedom of navigation and unimpeded passage in the South China Sea and the East China Sea and the stability of the Korean Peninsula and the Taiwan Strait. By virtue of geographic proximity and the presence of Filipinos in Taiwan, we have a legitimate interest in cross-Strait issues,” Marcos Jr stated.

“The Filipino people have a long history of fraternal bonds with the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. Peace and stability must prevail. Therefore, we continue to urge all parties to exercise restraint on the issue,” he further added.

Taiwan has never been under Chinese authority, but the country’s ruling Communist Party claims it as part of its territory nonetheless, and it has threatened to annex the island via force if necessary.

Moreover, China’s quest to emerge as a global power has repeatedly become a cause of concern in the Indo-Pacific.

Underlining the significance of the Indo-Pacific and the growing aggression of China, Marcos Jr said that the future of our region will be determined by many nations.

“The future of our region will be determined by many nations, each with its own unique experiences and aspirations. Yet their respective agencies are being challenged by attempts to undermine our faith in prevailing international norms,” the Philippine President said.

“Second, the strategic competition between China and the United States is permeating the evolving regional landscape. This rivalry is constraining the strategic choices of regional states. This contest is exacerbating flashpoints and has created new security dilemmas,” he added.

In April this year, India delivered the BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles to the Philippines as part of the USD 375 million deal between the two sides signed in 2022.

The Indian Air Force sent its American-origin C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft with the missiles to the Philippines to deliver the weapon system to the Philippines’ Marine Corps, according to the defence sources.

The Philippines is taking delivery of the missile systems at a time when tensions between them and China have escalated owing to frequent clashes in the South China Sea.

The three batteries of the BrahMos missile system would be deployed by the Philippines in their coastal areas to guard against any threat in the region.