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FACT CHECK: No Indian army deployment to West Philippine Sea 


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FACT CHECK: No Indian army deployment to West Philippine Sea 
The news report cited in a misleading YouTube video says India deployed ships to the South China Sea, but not specifically the West Philippine Sea

Claim: Soldiers from India have entered the West Philippine Sea (WPS) to counter China.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The YouTube video containing the claim was posted on May 13, 2024, by the YouTube channel “PHILIPPINES TRENDING NEWS,” which has 494,000 subscribers. As of writing, the video has 63,696 views, 1,200 likes, and 139 comments. 

The title and thumbnail of the video bear the claim: “Kakapasok lang. Malaking giyera ito! Mga sundalo ng India pumasok na sa WPS binangga na ang China” (Just in. This is a big war! Soldiers from India have entered the WPS to go against China.)

The video cited a report from news show Vantage on May 10, which reported on India joining the US-led navy alliance Combined Maritime Forces and how this partnership aims to counter a more assertive China on the high seas. 

The facts: There are no reports of Indian soldiers being deployed to the West Philippine Sea. In the Vantage report cited in the misleading video, Indian journalist Palki Sharma mentioned the deployment of three Indian Navy ships to the South China Sea, not the WPS.

The Times of India reported that three Indian naval ships – namely INS Delhi, Shakti, and Kiltan – docked in Singapore for a three-day visit from May 6 to 9 to “further strengthen the longstanding friendship and cooperation between the two maritime nations through a series of engagements and activities.” 

The ships will also visit Malaysia and the Philippines as part of the Indian Navy’s Operational Deployment in the South China Sea. On May 12, two ships arrived at Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, according to a report from Vietnam+. The ships will participate in a maritime partnership exercise with the Royal Malaysian Navy.


South China Sea vs. West Philippine Sea: In a primer published in 2013, the Asian Center of the University of the Philippines outlined the distinction between the West Philippine Sea and the South China Sea.

West Philippine Sea refers to a part of the South China Sea “that is closest, and of vital interest, to the Philippines.” The area includes the country’s 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone, where the Philippines enjoys sovereign rights. In 2012, Administrative Order No. 29 named the maritime areas on the western side of the Philippine archipelago the West Philippine Sea, which includes “the Luzon Sea, as well as the waters around, within, and adjacent to the Kalayaan Island Group and Bajo de Masinloc, also known as Scarborough Shoal.”

The South China Sea refers to the broader expanse of water bounded by China, Taiwan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Brunei. China claims most of the South China Sea, ignoring a historic 2016 arbitral ruling striking down its sweeping claims. Parts of the South China Sea are claimed by the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Indonesia. (ANALYSIS: The most complicated dispute in the world)

India and the Philippines: The false claim surfaced after India supported the Philippines in upholding its sovereign rights in the WPS amid China’s incursion in the waterway. In a meeting with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on March 26, Indian Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar affirmed India’s support for the Philippines in the South China Sea disputes and acknowledged the validity of the 2016 Hague ruling. – Ailla dela Cruz/Rappler.com

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