Philippine Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Artemio Manalo Abu undertook the 'Customer Demonstration Flight' on board the Indian Coast Guard Advance Light Helicopter MK III in Goa, earlier this week (All images courtesy: Indian Coast Guard)
Even as it anxiously awaits the first delivery of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile by the end of this year, the Philippines is already showing keen interest in several other indigenously designed and developed advanced technologies by leading Indian defence firms.
Carrying forward the ongoing momentum in bilateral defence ties for a stable Indo-Pacific, this week saw the first-ever bilateral meeting between the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to enhance bilateral maritime cooperation between the two nations for ensuring safe, secure and clean seas in the region.
Interestingly, before travelling to New Delhi, the high-level visiting delegation of PCG began their five-day India visit from Goa where they witnessed the operational capabilities of indigenous Indian ships and aircraft, including that of the ICG Advance Light Helicopter (ALH) MK-III.
Developed and manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the ALH MK III helicopters are fitted with state-of-the-art equipment which includes modern surveillance radar and electro-optical sensors, Shakti engines, full-glass cockpit, high-intensity search light, advanced communication systems, automatic identification system as well as search-and-rescue homer.
These features enable the helicopter to undertake maritime reconnaissance as well as carry out search and rescue at extended ranges while operating from ships, both during day and night.
Philippine Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Artemio Manalo Abu, who has been granted “special authority” by the country’s President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to enhance defence cooperation with India, undertook the ‘Customer Demonstration Flight’ on board the Indian Coast Guard ALH MK III in coordination with HAL authorities.
CG Adm Artemio M Abu, Commandant #Philippine Coast Guard #PCG visited Goa Shipyard Limited #GSL to see the #Indian shipbuilding industry and @IndiaCoastGuard ship production.@coastguardph pic.twitter.com/4aK7rX4q8X
— Indian Coast Guard (@IndiaCoastGuard) August 21, 2023
The travelling party then visited the ICG Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) Sujeet and witnessed the multi-role capabilities of the ship including its design.
Entirely designed in-house by the professionals of Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL), the OPV has been part of the coast guard fleet and is used for protection of Exclusive Economic Zone of territorial waters.
Later, Abu signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Director General of the Indian Coast Guard Rakesh Pal during the first bilateral meeting between both maritime agencies.
The MoU seeks to enhance the professional linkage between the two Coast Guards in the domain of Maritime Law Enforcement (MLE), Maritime Search and Rescue (M-SAR) and Marine Pollution Response (MPR) as they work on the shared objectives and approaches to the security environment in the Indo-Pacific region.
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between ICG and PCG for enhancing maritime cooperation has been signed by the DG Rakesh Pal, PTM, TM, Director General @IndiaCoastGuard and CG Admiral Artemio M Abu, Commandant, Philippine Coast Guard #PCG at the Coast Guard Hq, #NewDelhi. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/hfdgFFtFv0
— Indian Coast Guard (@IndiaCoastGuard) August 22, 2023
Taking another step forward in fostering strong bilateral ties, Admiral Abu then met Indian Navy chief Admiral R Hari Kumar the Philippine Coast Guard signed a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for exchange of White Shipping Information with the Indian Navy.
The SOP would facilitate operationalization of information exchange on merchant shipping traffic, which will contribute to enhanced maritime safety and security in the region.
— Philippine Coast Guard (@coastguardph) August 24, 2023
Located at the crossroads of the busiest sea lanes in the world, including the Strait of Malacca, both India and the Philippines have realised the critical role their maritime collaboration will play to safeguard the Indo-Pacific region.
As reported by IndiaNarrative.com earlier, India is not only equipping Manila with BrahMos cruise missiles, but is also playing a big role in upgrading the Philippines’ artillery and conducting military courses for its armed forces personnel.
In February, 21 Philippine Navy personnel completed the operator training of the Shore Based Anti-Ship Missile System (SBASMS) and were awarded their interim missile badges and pins by CNS Admiral Kumar.
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.
If you are a Filipino, whether in government or private sector, regardless of your politics, defending and making excuses for China’s aggressive behavior should deem you unpatriotic, and a traitor to the Philippines and to our people. Given current developments in the West… pic.twitter.com/uJ5RU6P6RD
— Jay Tarriela (@jaytaryela) August 10, 2023
Worried about China’s strategic expansion into the South China Sea, the Philippines has spotlighted the importance of sustaining defence engagement with India and like-minded partner countries.