India reiterates its loan offer to modernise the Philippine military: Filipino media

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The proposal was reintroduced at the 5th India-Philippines Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC), which was convened on June 29 in New Delhi under the direction of Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo and Indian Minister of External Affairs S. Jaishankar.

“With regard to defence cooperation, both Ministers expressed a strong desire to continue working together in this area, including through regular or improved official level interactions among defence agencies, opening of the resident Defence Attaché office in Manila, taking into account India’s offer of a concessional Line of Credit to help the Philippines meet its defence needs, purchasing of naval assets, and expanding training and joint exercises on maritime security and disaster

Based on the national goals of the borrowing countries, India’s line of credit is a soft loan issued at low interest rates to developing nations.

The general terms of the Export-Import Bank of India’s (EXIM Bank) line credits are 1.75 percent, with a 20-year tenor and a five-year moratorium, according to a text message from India’s ambassador to the Philippines, Shambhu Kumaran.

There is currently no particular sum stated; however, it will depend on what the Philippines side needs.

The offer was initially made when Delfin Lorenzana, the previous defence secretary, visited India in 2018, and it was reinforced today, the official continued.

Currently on Horizon 3, which is scheduled for 2023 to 2028, is the ongoing modernization programme for the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

The Horizon 3 is “significantly devoted to the naval aspect” of the military operations, according to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., who had reaffirmed his commitment to strengthening the nation’s defence capabilities.

The Standard Operating Procedure for the White Shipping Agreement between the Indian Navy and the Philippines Coast Guard (PCG) was asked for to be operationalized as soon as possible by Manalo and Jaishankar, who both emphasised the significance of maritime domain awareness.

Between the Indian Coast Guard and PCG, a memorandum of understanding on enhanced maritime cooperation is also in the works.

While acknowledging the two as similar security issues, the two officials also talked about a potential MOU on cooperation in preventing and combating terrorism and transnational crime.

Regarding regional challenges, Manalo and Jaishankar acknowledged that both nations have a common interest in the Indo-Pacific region being free, open, and inclusive.

The joint statement stated that “they underlined the need for peaceful dispute resolution and for adherence to international law, particularly the UNCLOS and the 2016 Arbitral Award on the South China Sea in this regard.”

The two ministers decided to cooperate in order to fortify the bilateral relationship while taking note of the widening range of India-Philippines relations.

Along with defence and security, the two also talked on a broad partnership embracing emerging industries including trade, health, and the digital economy.

The next meeting of the Joint Committee on Bilateral Cooperation will take place in the Philippines on dates that work for both parties.

The JCBC is a ministerial-level forum for discussion of Philippine-Indian relations issues that is conducted every two years.

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