LOOK: Indian Navy ships on friendly visit to Manila
MANILA, Philippines – Two Indian Navy ships arrived in Manila on Wednesday morning, October 23, for a 4-day goodwill visit, just days after the Philippines and India signed a maritime security agreement during the state visit of Indian President Ram Nath Kovind.
The Shivalik-class guided missile frigate INS Sahyadri and the Kamorta-class antisubmarine warfare corvette INS Kiltan pulled into Pier 15 of the Port of Manila at around 9 am to a welcome ceremony by the Philippine Navy led by Sealift Amphibious Force Commander Captain Ernesto Baldovino.
The Sahyadri’s commanding officer, Captain Ashwin Arvind, led the Indian Navy’s contingent of some 350 sailors on “Overseas Deployment to South East Asia and the Western Pacific.”
The relationship between the Philippine and Indian navies is “very important,” Arvind said in his arrival statement. He said it is strategic for the Indian Navy to maintain a “beyond just professional” friendship with its Philippine counterpart because “the importance of the Indo-Pacific region is intricately linked with the Philippines.”
Naval states in the Asia-Pacific have recently sought more cooperation as an increasingly assertive China and a pivoting US raise geopolitical tensions in the region.
While in Manila, Arvind and other leading naval officers will pay a courtesy call on Rear Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo, acting Philippine Navy chief, while Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad is on official business in Spain.
Filipino and Indian navy sailors will take part in “goodwill games and cultural exchanges,” the Philippine Navy said in a media release.
Filipino sailors will tour the Sahyadri and Kiltan to “enhance their knowledge of Indian naval operations and equipment.” The two vessels represent the “coming-of-age” of India’s warship building capabilities, the Philippine Navy added.
On October 18, Kovind and President Rodigo Duterte oversaw the signing of a ”Memorandum of Understanding on the Sharing of White Shipping Information" between their two countries, which aims to enhance maritime security "through the sharing of information on non-military and non-government shipping vessels between the Philippines and India," according to a Malacañang media release.
Kovind visited Manila from October 17 to 21, during which India and the Philippines marked 70 years of diplomatic ties. – Rappler.com