In a significant move aimed at enhancing the capabilities of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), the Indian government has extended an offer to provide at least seven helicopters for use in the Philippines' disaster response and humanitarian efforts, reported Financial Times.
These helicopters, if installed with specialised equipment, can also be used for defence against China's aggression in South China Sea (SCS).
The helicopters can conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions, gather intelligence about the movement of Chinese ships in the South China Sea (SCS), and can also launch anti-ship missiles.
The proposal is currently the subject of discussions between the two nations and was initially put forth during a courtesy meeting between Philippines President Ferdinand R Marcos Jr and Indian Ambassador to the Philippines, Shambhu Kumaran.
President Marcos in a statement underscored the critical need to enhance the country's capabilities, particularly in terms of the Coast Guard's search and rescue operations, given their paramount significance.
Indian Ambassador Shambhu Kumaran highlighted the ongoing deliberations between the Indian government, the PCG, and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) concerning the supply of seven helicopters designated for maritime search and rescue operations and humanitarian services.
Kumaran noted, "The discussions are progressing well. The PCG has shown a strong interest and has even test-flown the helicopters. I kindly request your consideration, as this could have a very positive impact."
He further emphasised that the helicopters offered to the PCG were originally designed for Indian Navy and coast guard, capable of supporting more extensive security operations, including transporting larger groups of people and cargo.
This development is unfolding at a time when defence collaboration is increasingly becoming a significant component of the relationship between the two nations.
The Philippines has already ordered a BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from India. Another deal for procuring more BrahMos missiles is also under consideration. Both countries are also considering establishing a maritime dialogue to further enhance their partnership.
As you are no doubt aware, Swarajya is a media product that is directly dependent on support from its readers in the form of subscriptions. We do not have the muscle and backing of a large media conglomerate nor are we playing for the large advertisement sweep-stake.
Our business model is you and your subscription. And in challenging times like these, we need your support now more than ever.
We deliver over 10 - 15 high quality articles with expert insights and views. From 7AM in the morning to 10PM late night we operate to ensure you, the reader, get to see what is just right.
Becoming a Patron or a subscriber for as little as Rs 1200/year is the best way you can support our efforts.