From Australia to the Philippines: EAM’s visit to focus on Indo-Pacific, Chinese aggression and deeper ties

Close on the heels of the first ever export order of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile deal being signed with the Philippines, external affairs minister Dr S Jaishankar is most likely to visit that country soon. Sources told Financial Express Online, “The dates have not been firmed up yet. Most likely the visit will happen.”

Close on the heels of the first ever export order of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile deal being signed with the Philippines, external affairs minister Dr S Jaishankar is most likely to visit that country soon. Sources told Financial Express Online, “The dates have not been firmed up yet. Most likely the visit will happen.”

The visit is expected to take place early next week. “The means, after the QUAD foreign ministers meeting gets over in Melbourne, Australia later this week, the minister might travel to the Philippines,” the source quoted above added.

India & Philippines BrahMos Deal

The Asean member country is soon expected to order more batteries of the supersonic Indo-Russian BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles. Last month, a contract worth USD 374.96 million, was sealed between the BrahMos Aerospace Pvt Ltd and the Department of National Defence of Philippines. The deal was done under the umbrella agreement which had been signed between the two countries earlier.

The BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles will be operated by the Philippines Marines. And soon another deal for the Philippines Army is likely to be firmed up.

In an earlier interaction, Atul Dinkar Rane, CEO & MD BrahMos, had confirmed to Financial Express Online, “We are ready to export more missiles to the Philippines, in case they place an order.”

According to reports, the Philippines Army had activated its first land-based missile Unit in 2019, which is under its Army Artillery Regiment. Now, the army of that country is in negotiations to acquire BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from India.

Bullet Proof Jackets & Helmets from MKU Ltd

Kanpur based MKU Ltd was among the first Indian companies which had exported Bullet Proof Jackets to the Philippines Army, a few years ago. This company is in the process of bidding for larger contracts for helmets and Bullet Proof Jackets.

For the first time, Coast Guards of that country have sought more details about the indigenous “Dhruv’’ Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH), and 228-Dornier aircraft. There is a requirement of procuring seven ALH and eight Dornier aircraft under the USD 100 million Line of Credit which has been extended by India.

EAM’s visit to the Philippines

The visit to that country is likely early next week. And during the two day visit Dr Jaishankar is expected to meet and have talks with his Philippine counterpart, Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teddy Locsin Jr. The focus will be on the emerging challenges in the region, China’s expansion in the region, peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region and other issues of mutual interests.

According to sources, “when the visit happens, the minister is also expected to call on President Rodrigo Duterte.”

The Asean member country is in the midst of modernizing its armed forces and enhancing its naval power. And, it has been reaching out to India for other platforms and body armour.

Previous high level visits from India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the country in 2017. And in 2018, President Duterte visited India as a guest for the Republic Day Celebrations.

When PM Modi had visited that country, in an effort to strengthen its Act East Policy, the two sides had signed a MoU related to the Logistics Cooperation and defence industry. This included production, development and procurement of defence materials.

At the foreign ministerial level the first visit was by the then external affairs minister Salman Khurshid and in 2013, the then minister of State Gen VK Singh had visited that country in 2017.

QUAD meeting later this week

On February 10, the Indian external affairs minister is expected to visit Australia to attend the QUAD Foreign Affairs ministers meeting. Besides the multi-lateral aspect, according to sources a bilateral component is expected to be there.

In 2020, all the ministers of the QUAD had met physically. However, in 2021, the FMs meeting took place virtually.

Expected Agenda in Melbourne

The last in-person QUAD FMs meet was in 2020 in Tokyo, followed by a virtual meet in February 2021.

Dr Jaishankar is expected to meet the US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.

Expected one on meetings with top government officials of the host country –Australia.

The meeting with the US Secretary Blinken was announced by the US State Department’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Assistant Secretary Daniel Kritenbrink.

Significance of the timing of the visit

From Australia to the Philippines, the visits come at a time when the controversial Winter Olympic Games are going on in China. India along with many other countries has boycotted the games at the diplomatic level.

Source:The Financial Express

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