PH, India renew defense cooperation commitment

By Priam Nepomuceno

April 5, 2023, 10:34 am

<p><strong>DEFENSE COOPERATION.</strong> Defense officials of the Philippines and India pose for a photo on the sidelines of the 4th Joint Defense Cooperation Committee (JDCC) and 2nd Service-to-Service Meeting in New Delhi, India on March 31, 2023. The Department of National Defense (DND) on Wednesday (April 5, 2023) said the two sides welcomed the possible deployment of a resident Indian defense attaché to Manila, and the elevation of the co-chairmanship of the JDCC to an undersecretary level as a manifestation of increasing bilateral defense relations. <em>(Photo courtesy of DND)</em></p>

DEFENSE COOPERATION. Defense officials of the Philippines and India pose for a photo on the sidelines of the 4th Joint Defense Cooperation Committee (JDCC) and 2nd Service-to-Service Meeting in New Delhi, India on March 31, 2023. The Department of National Defense (DND) on Wednesday (April 5, 2023) said the two sides welcomed the possible deployment of a resident Indian defense attaché to Manila, and the elevation of the co-chairmanship of the JDCC to an undersecretary level as a manifestation of increasing bilateral defense relations. (Photo courtesy of DND)

MANILA – The Philippines and India have renewed their commitment to further enhancing their defense cooperation during the 4th Joint Defense Cooperation Committee (JDCC) and 2nd Service-to-Service (STS) Meeting held in New Delhi on March 31.

In a statement Wednesday, Department of National Defense (DND) spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said the Philippine delegation to the JDCC was headed by the department’s Assistant Secretary for Strategic Assessments and International Affairs Pablo M. Lorenzo.

"Both co-chairs of the 4th JDCC meeting reaffirmed their commitment to the implementation of the 2006 Philippines-India Agreement Concerning Defense Cooperation and underscored the importance of the annual convening of the JDCC and STS meetings," he said.

The two sides welcomed the possible deployment of a resident Indian defense attaché to Manila, and the elevation of the co-chairmanship of the JDCC to an undersecretary level as a manifestation of increasing bilateral defense relations.

"Before the 4th JDCC, delegations from AFP and Indian Armed Forces convened the 2nd STS meeting on 29 March 2023, where both armed forces discussed the list of activities to be included in the Philippines-India Defense Engagement Plan for CY 2023-2025, reviewed the activities conducted since 2020, and other issues and concerns," Andolong said.

“During the 4th JDCC, the two co-chairs welcomed the outcomes of the 2nd STS, particularly the discussions to further enhance maritime security collaboration and explore cooperation on cyber security, military medicine, electromagnetic spectrum, joint training, space security, and humanitarian assistance and disaster response.”

He said the Philippine and Indian delegations also shared best practices on their respective defense indigenization or self-reliant defense posture program, and updates on procurements and acquisitions.

India, meanwhile, shared its Act East Policy while the Philippines provided updates on the current security environment in the Indo-Pacific region.

"Both countries highlighted the importance of promoting an open and free Indo-Pacific region, upholding the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and other international laws, and enhancing cooperation among like-minded countries in the region," Andolong said.

Under their multilateral cooperation, both sides reaffirmed their support for ASEAN Centrality, as well as the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific and for United Nations peace operations and missions.

"In closing, both countries expressed hope that efforts to increase defense and military relations will be sustained. The DND invited the Ministry of Defense of India to the 5th JDCC and 3rd STS meetings that the Philippines will host in 2024. Furthermore, the DND expressed support for India's current G20 Chairmanship," he said. (PNA)

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