BrahMos affords credible deterrence, recognition of India’s defence trade: Philippine Ambassador Ignacio

Memoir highlights

Regarding the ongoing tensions in the West Philippine Sea/South China Sea, Ambassador Ignacio reaffirmed the Philippines’ commitment to its correct rights and entitlements in the area

The Philippines’ most recent induction of BrahMos missiles has been hailed as a primary trend by Ambassador Josel Francisco Ignacio. In an uncommon interview with WION’s diplomatic correspondent Sidhant Sibal, Philippines Ambassador Ignacio described the acquisition as a “milestone” for the nation’s defence modernisation, offering “credible deterrence”. The BrahMos missile, eminent for its bustle and precision, used to be collectively developed by India’s Defence Analysis and Style Organisation (DRDO) and Russia’s NPO Mashinostroyenia. The $375 million deal, signed in 2022, marked a a need to-receive step forward for the Philippines endeavor its defence modernisation.

The ambassador additional acknowledged the deepening ties between India and the Philippines, noting an “intensification that they receive got now not viewed sooner than and that’s terribly welcome.” He expressed hope for increased Indian vacationer arrivals in his nation and advocated for organising a command flight connection. Regarding the ongoing tensions in the West Philippine Sea/South China Sea, Ambassador Ignacio reaffirmed the Philippines’ commitment to its correct rights and entitlements in the area, mentioning, “Philippines stands on agency correct ground as to what its entitlements are as to what its rights all over the West Philippine Sea.” China has used water cannons against Philippine vessels in the area, elevating tensions.

Here is the transcript of the chubby interview:

WION: How elevate out you seek the India-Philippines relationship, the main ingredients and how it has been rising in the previous few years?
Josel Francisco Ignacio: This twelve months is the seventy fifth twelve months of Philippines and India diplomatic relations, however our relations lag some distance support, they are centuries veteran. We receive now got quite a bit of general ingredients, cultural relations, ancient relations, and of us-to-of us relations, Indian communities receive had a presence in the Philippines for hundreds of years, however in additional neatly-liked instances, now now we receive viewed these general ingredients evolve into quite a bit of various issues. Now, now we receive a shared just. We are each the leading and staunch democracies of Asia, India, the final word democracy in Asia and the Philippines, one among the older bastions of democracy, and variety. We are the first Asian Republic, no doubt. Now we’re each advocates of the guideline of legislation, peace and security and prosperity for all. These items converge collectively to produce , the coolest underpinning of , the produce of relationship now we receive. We salvage that even though the connection is now 75 years veteran, over the final decade, now we receive viewed an intensification that they receive got now not viewed sooner than and that’s terribly welcome. Coming here to India, I am satisfied to form of frame it because the relationship has gone on turbo, so suddenly, it’s some distance now not a unhurried impact bigger. It’s love a sudden spike. That is terribly worthy welcome and that’s the reason where we stand perfect now. You know, we’re attempting to raise the connection, win it sharp across all ranges, and some distance need to be completed however we’re satisfied where it’s some distance candy now. We’re attempting to be even busier, working on advancing and making progress and , trade, politics, security, defence, of us-to-of us culture, , we are going to win all these engines firing.

WION: We saw the confer with of the Indian Exterior Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar. On that confer with, India moreover got here out in make stronger of Philippine sovereignty as neatly at a time when now we receive viewed increased Chinese language aggressiveness alongside with your nation. How elevate out you seek the confer with and how elevate out you seek these comments by the Indian facet, on your sovereignty at a truly fundamental time?
Josel Francisco Ignacio: Neatly, initially, talking purely all over the frame of India-Philippines relations, very worthy welcome. We are very elated that Dr Jaishankar, EAM visited the Philippines for the 2d time in as a long time. And this truly reveals the intensification that I used to be talking about, excessive-level visits coming, extra time and again. When I used to be in Manila, nearly 5 years ago, I used to be fragment of the workforce that worked on the confer with of then president Kovind and, this confer with by EAM sustains that top-level engagement. Closing twelve months, our secretary used to be here, and in between they’d conferences, alongside with in Kampala. We receive now had mobile phone calls between the leaders. So many excessive-level engagements, again, reflecting the intensification of our relations. As some distance as , your varied assign a question to is ready EAM’s remarks about supporting Philippine sovereignty. I mediate it could presumably perchance not receive come at a bigger time. First, since it comes, , we examine all of it over the context of India’s determined make stronger for the arbitral award in the arbitration case in the South China Sea. India’s determined assign of living of make stronger from June 2023. So as that’s one context in which we examine it. Nonetheless the assorted thing is, , it’s some distance a fundamental recognition by the EAM Jaishankar of the Philippine agency with regard to its actions, particularly in the South China Sea. Probabilities are you’ll presumably perchance hear some narratives, as an instance, that what’s going on in the waters in the South China Sea, as an instance, is a case of , rivalry amongst powers in which the assorted littoral states are advocate as if they are perfect, , pawns, , in a bigger chessboard, which would possibly perchance now not be farther than the fact. You know, the EAM’s acknowledgement of the Philippine sovereignty dovetails very clearly with what now we receive been emphasising because the Philippines that’s, now we receive determined our receive, , pursuits now we receive our receive sovereignty to present protection to. We contrivance shut our actions, there who contrivance shut our positions there, because our receive territory, our receive sovereign jurisdiction, sovereignty, sovereign rights in EEZ, are below threat, and we as an unprejudiced deliver, as a sovereign nation, , has their receive coverage, now we receive our receive strategic calculus, and we act fixed with that. And that command by the EAM, even though it’s some distance a truly short command, has all these manifold implications that , we truly adore.

WION: So I will come to the bit of the converse when it involves the South China Sea slash West Philippine Sea, however let me proceed with the India bit now. Security and Defence receive been the main pillars which receive again viewed a turbo, a sudden spike as you identified. Now, India has despatched BrahMos missiles and here is something that it’s probably you’ll presumably perchance receive got obtained from India, how elevate out you seek this acquisition by the Philippines from India going forward?
Josel Francisco Ignacio: I mediate two issues now. Our defence relationship with India has constantly been there. In 2006, we signed a memorandum of agreement on defence cooperation that offers the framework that underpins , broader cooperation alongside many traces of defence, as an instance, practising and education and exchanges, port calls by naval vessels. Nonetheless of slack again as a reflection of the intensification of the final relations. Our defence cooperation has moreover intensified, which is again very welcome. The BrahMos is main in the sense that it affords the Philippines credible deterrence, as , for us, , for the previous decades, now we receive been modernising our militia and receive been attempting to win, , credible deterrence and BrahMos affords, it’s some distance a fundamental commence up to that ongoing rush. It is a fundamental component of this ongoing rush. So, the Brahmos acquisition is a milestone for the Philippines in phrases of, , Armed Forces modernisation and defence, credible defence, however I’d moreover hand it to India. It’s moreover a recognition of India’s Defence Alternate, defence functionality, and its increasing, , defence footprint, as neatly as its overall purpose of attempting to be a to blame player in the worldwide neighborhood.

WION: Any plans to win extra defensive weapons alongside with BrahMos from India? I saw a most recent document that the Philippines opinion to win helicopters from India for humanitarian features.
Josel Francisco Ignacio: Neatly, our defence modernisation proceeds in phases. We are actually coming into fragment three. And pointless to negate, there is a menu of objects that our militia would desire in an effort to receive in expose to win this overall modernisation and defence assign of living that we would possibly perchance presumably perchance well desire to produce. The browsing list will be up to our Department of Defence, however completely, I mediate what’s crucial to whisper at this level is that India being what it’s some distance, , having the flexibility, industrial capacity, the expertise and I mediate , the proven quality of the merchandise, the defence merchandise that it builds, is totally one among the crucial markets, if I’d assign it that method. One in every of the crucial sources that we’re and we’re very assured that , this produce of cooperation in defence tools will completely, , lag deeper and farther and impact bigger worthy extra in the arriving years.

WION: By method of defence, maritime security is moreover something that there used to be cooperation. We nowadays saw the confer with of an Indian hover guard ship which coincided with EAM’s confer with as neatly. Now, India is sending warships to the South China Sea, now not particularly to the Philippines. So how elevate out you seek the maritime cooperation going on between these two countries?
Josel Francisco Ignacio: India and the Philippines are each maritime nations. The maritime sphere is terribly crucial to us, for the Philippines, particularly so , being an archipelagic nation, , on the western border of the Pacific and then , the littoral states, the South China Sea, alongside fundamental sea lanes of verbal replace. So, maritime cooperation with each associate and particularly with India, you seek something that we rate and we examine it as something that we need to all the time cultivate. The EAM’s confer with coinciding with the confer with of the Indian Wing Guard vessel, I mediate exemplifies in very concrete ways, how our maritime pursuits in, as an instance, the level-headed, stable Indo-Pacific, coincide and, that’s a truly perfect I mediate, symbolic manifestation of it. Nonetheless we would possibly perchance presumably perchance well desire to have an effect on bigger our engagement, Wing Guard to Wing Guard, and even Navy to Navy, to order and make stronger our cooperation. There is the safety facet, however there are moreover varied equally crucial aspects of maritime cooperation of the blue financial system being a fundamental precedence now for many countries, as an instance, the confer with of the Wing Guard vessel of India, it’s about maritime air pollution regulate so that’s a fundamental ingredient. There is, , fisheries conservation, IUU, so many so many angles, in so many areas, , all over the maritime sphere where we are in a position to cooperate.

WION: Dwelling is moreover but any other house where each countries can cooperate. Any plans to cooperate on that ingredient?
Josel Francisco Ignacio: Neatly, personally, I have been very attracted to house matters. I constantly looked up to India even as a youthful student when it involves house, mountainous aspects, mountainous figures and numbers receive Indian names hooked up to them. Closing twelve months, I mediate when we had the Joint Commission on bilateral cooperation, fragment of the joint command truly pertains to house cooperation, and each countries receive begun to transfer attempting into that. ISRO and our receive Philippine house agency are attempting into areas where we are in a position to deepen cooperation. Now, India has the expertise. India has constantly been there, whether or now not with delivery capabilities, or satellite functionality, already proven. The Philippines is in the nascent stages, however the Level-headed Uses of Outer Dwelling, , of which there are quite a bit of various sub-areas, we seek we would possibly perchance presumably perchance well calm be ready to cooperate with, first in capacity constructing, pointless to negate, on this house, it could presumably perchance be the Philippines attempting to India, it’s probably you’ll presumably perchance receive bigger journey. There is some distance-off sensing as an instance, through satellite, which has features now not completely in security, it has features when it involves the atmosphere, native weather trade, fisheries, land consume, air pollution regulate even receive their catastrophe threat response. So home is, , an house that will presumably perchance well calm now not be assign of living aside and I’m joyful that because the Philippines and India, now we receive very, clearly assign it on our agenda.

WION: On a worthy wider domain, which is the of us-to-of us relationship, why would possibly perchance presumably perchance well calm Indians lag to the Philippines for tourism features and for education features, whereas it’s probably you’ll presumably perchance account for for us?
Josel Francisco Ignacio: Geographically, ASEAN and India are neighbours, however whereas you examine it, in that geography, we’re the Philippines and India are on , the farther, , farthest limits, that produce of geography and I mediate it’s about time that the Philippines and India learned each varied. By method of real visits, the Philippines has quite a bit to provide to India, even though , the Philippines and India, even though we’re on the identical latitude, I mediate geography has blessed our countries in varied ways. I mean, India has its receive cultural and pure wonders, which I’m tantalizing to stare, , whether or now not or now not it’s , inland or by the ocean by the shore, the Philippines as an archipelago. Clearly, it’s some distance a varied produce of complexion, particularly since the coastline journey will be varied.  I mediate it’s about time Indians look for themselves what the Philippines has to provide. We receive now got 7000 Plus islands, , all of these receive their receive seashores. The Philippines has a rich history. So now we receive quite a bit of heritage destinations as neatly. That I’m determined Indians will adore. We receive now got urban destinations. We receive now got perfect browsing, now we receive perfect nightlife. Any confer with to the Philippines would now not be total with out exposing yourself to the food, and tune. So worthy to stare, however I constantly negate that here is reciprocal. We would possibly perchance presumably perchance well moreover desire our countrymen, Filipinos to come and confer with India. So because there are quite a bit of issues moreover to stare and to adore in India. So I mediate there is a method of mutual self-discovery for each countries that can in a roundabout method power closer of us-to-of us relations, however in a roundabout method, overall relations. So in that sense, the just is wanted an envoy, to stress restoring command flights, is because that components into the dedication of travellers. So command flights will be crucial, and they also’d desire to, presumably promote each varied worthy extra in phrases of conventions, conferences, weddings, and filming.

WION: We receive now got viewed nearly day-to-day headlines as to what’s going on in the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea. We receive now got viewed the utilization of water cannons by the Chinese language forces against Filipino boats, which is something that has in actuality shy the sector. So if we are in a position to focus on in regards to the review, what’s the converse? How risky is the converse for now not completely the Indo-Pacific however for the sector?
Josel Francisco Ignacio: Yes, I mediate sooner than we focus on in regards to the explicit incidents, we need to all the time elaborate in the first event, what the house where here is occurring in the West Philippine Sea. The house of dispute has been clarified. It’s determined below the laws, it has been clarified even additional and definitively by the arbitral award of 2016. So, it will be fundamental to elaborate at this early stage that , it’s some distance now not an equal dispute. If I’d negate so, since the Philippines stands on agency correct ground as to what its entitlements are as to what its rights all over the West Philippine Sea, so it will be fundamental to position down that context , sooner than we focus on, , what’s going on there. The Philippines is exercising its jurisdiction, and its rights over these waters, whether or now not or now not it’s territorial sea or whether or now not or now not it’s farther out all over the Philippine EEZ house and continental shelf. So these are areas where the Philippines very clearly has correct authority even below global legislation, to order these rights, these actions, however the varied event makes it seem that we don’t, by declaring its order which is legally baseless. In the end, this does now not wreck us from conducting our receive humanitarian missions and provide missions. And that’s the reason where the tensions arise because as I said, the assorted event tries to wreck us supposedly, on enforcement grounds from endeavor these actions and that’s where the encounters are going on and, , what we’re doing because the Philippines is, , as we proceed to whisper our correct rights, I mean, diplomatically, we consume all tools on hand, level-headed tools, diplomatic tools to win this across to the assorted facet. You know, the arbitral award is final and binding on each parties, and all each parties would possibly perchance presumably perchance well calm be ready to conform with these rulings. What we’re satisfied with is that there is a rising quantity of nations that make stronger us, , on this regard, and that has even affirmed the arbitral award. More nowadays, now we receive the G7 issuing a joint communique, moreover citing the arbitral award, pointless to negate, I will contrivance shut this different to again, thank the Authorities of India for affirming that arbitral award. So as that is the underlying context interior which these encounters are going on at sea. And, sadly, they are persevering with however we would possibly perchance presumably perchance well now not be deterred by , legally baseless, aggressive actions or after intimidation. And we are in a position to perfect, , soldier on and , elevate out as is our perfect to, , to order.

WION: Nonetheless elevate out you seek it persevering with since it’s perfect now not stopping? The aggressive actions proceed from the assorted facet, that’s China. Carry out you seek the aggressive actions persevering with and what elevate out you intend to counter since it’s some distance going on nearly on a weekly basis?
Josel Francisco Ignacio: Neatly, , our, our menu of actions, , we try to order all of these, pointless to negate, above all, , we’re a peace-loving nation. So, above all, it’s, , we’re aiming for a level-headed settlement, , these differences. So, there is a level-headed dispute settlement, however it need to be underpinned, , by legislation because that equalises sooner than global legislation, all americans’s equal, nobody is bigger, nobody is smaller. You know, we’re equal, and I mediate the legislation is terribly determined, particularly UNCLOS and then particularly again the arbitral award, which has very worthy clarified determined aspects of UNCLOS. So, we moreover consume the legislation to reaffirm our assign of living. Nonetheless issues are ongoing. So, , we obtained but any other level, there’s moreover a fight being waged in the theatre of public notion, , the assorted facet says, , you provoke etcetera, etcetera. So, what we’re doing is to display the sector what’s truly going on on the waters. So now we receive this transparency campaign, ongoing, and that’s the reason what you seek. What you seek on your monitors on your tv is de facto, , fragment of the manufactured from this transparency campaign whereby the media accompany, global or home accompany us and look for themselves who’s telling the fact.

WION: Possess you briefed the Indian facet in regards to the incidents?
Josel Francisco Ignacio: Neatly, we’re constantly in contact, , with our Indian colleagues, whether or now not or now not it’s in Manila or here, and I mediate all aspects receive a transparent appreciation of what is going on. I mediate the confer with of the EAM and the statements that he has made, the statements that the Ministry of Exterior Affairs has been making on the South China Sea, reflects very worthy, the produce of usual dialogue that now we receive bilaterally whether or now not informal or through formal mechanisms to preserve each varied abreast of what is going on there.

WION: The fresh team on the block, that’s a squad. How elevate out you seek this team? Carry out you watched this team can and can calm be ready to counter the Chinese language aggressiveness?
Josel Francisco Ignacio: As the Philippines, now we receive our receive international coverage choices fixed with our pursuits. We receive now got our receive agency to settle what’s most efficient for ourselves. And fragment of that is the partnerships that now we receive. We receive now got as all americans is conscious of, now we receive an alliance, a proper alliance with a Security Treaty with the US. We receive now got a strategic associate in Australia, identical in Japan, and , these converge naturally, particularly because these four countries are in the Indo-Pacific Dwelling. Clearly, we focus on in regards to the bigger Indo-Pacific however, , in the sense that we’re Pacific countries, we moreover are attempting to level of curiosity on the imperatives in that house, and it’s pure for these four countries to be working on areas of mutual difficulty. So I mediate therein lies the imperative and the driver in the support of Squad. Now, the assorted fragment of the assign a question to, we strongly imagine that these are now not competing, Squad and Quad. They’re each related to our shared purpose of having a level-headed, stable, prosperous Indo-Pacific. And I mediate in the head we are in a position to seek the complementarities of these what are coming to be known as as , form of triangles or mini-laterals or , smaller groupings, all are complimentary, as neatly for so long because the boundaries are love-minded receive a shared recognition of the challenges and most of all characteristic all over the identical recognition of what is correct and what’s suggestions-basically basically based.

Sidhant Sibal

Sidhant Sibal is the essential diplomatic correspondent for WION. When he is now not working, it’s probably you’ll presumably perchance salvage him taking part in alongside with his dog.

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