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Indian warships reach Manila as part of deployment to South China Sea | India News



NEW DELHI: Amid heightened tensions between an aggressive China and the Philippines, three Indian warships have now reached Manila as part of the ongoing long-range deployment to the South China Sea to strengthen maritime partnerships with friendly countries.
Guided-missile destroyer INS Delhi, fleet tanker INS Shakti and anti-submarine warfare corvette INS Kiltan, under the command of Eastern Fleet chief Rear Admiral Rajesh Dhankhar, docked at Manila on Sunday after similar goodwill visits to Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam in the region.
The visit comes soon after India began deliveries of three anti-ship coastal batteries of the 290-km BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles to the Philippines last month, under the $375 million contract in January 2022, which New Delhi hopes will pave the way for more such deals with ASEAN countries.
“India and the Philippines share common interests particularly in maintaining peace and order in the Indo-Pacific region. The two navies share strong bonds of friendship, and both have endeavored to participate in maritime partnership exercises at every available opportunity,” Rear Admiral Dhankhar said.
Personnel from the two navies will take part in an exercise as well as engage in a wide range of professional interactions, including subject matter expert exchange, cross-deck visits, cultural visits, and collaborative community outreach programmes, during the visit. “We are visiting friendly foreign countries to share our experiences and best practices with their navies,” Rear Admiral Dhankhar.
The deployment to the South China Sea, where China is locked in territorial disputes with its neighbours, is also taking place when the Indian Navy is closely monitoring expanding operations of Chinese satellite and missile tracking ships in the Indian Ocean Region. Such dual-use ships map oceanographic and other data useful for navigation and submarine operations of the Chinese Navy.
India has been steadily upgrading defence ties with ASEAN countries like Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines through regular joint exercises, military exchanges and training programmes.
Towards this end, the first-ever ASEAN-India maritime exercise (AIME) was also conducted in May last year. Warships from India, the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei and Vietnam had then conducted joint drills in the South China Sea.





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