By Priam Nepomuceno

DEEPENING TIES. Indian Minister of External Affairs, Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar (left) and Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. shake hands during their meeting at the Department of National Defense (DND) headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on March 26, 2024. The DND on Monday (April 1) said it is keen on increasing engagements with the South Asian neighbor on climate change mitigation and defense cooperation. (Photo courtesy of the DND)

MANILA – The Department of National Defense (DND) is looking to forge stronger climate change mitigation cooperation with its Indian counterparts, aside from boosting its defense ties with the South Asian country.

“For his part, as the Chairperson of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC), Secretary (Gilberto) Teodoro (Jr.) highlighted the possibility of cooperation between the Philippines and India on climate change mitigation to help secure vulnerable internal and external supply chains,” DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said in a statement Monday night.

This came as the DND chief met with Indian Minister of External Affairs Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and his delegation on March 26 at the DND headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

“Both officials looked forward to more robust defense and military engagements, particularly the conduct of ministerial-level meetings,” Andolong noted.

Aside from this, Teodoro also thanked India’s unwavering support for the Philippines’ position on the West Philippine Sea/South China Sea issue.

“Minister Jaishankar reaffirmed India’s commitment to upholding a rules-based international order and promoting peace and security in the Indo-Pacific Region,” the DND spokesperson said.

Also, the DND chief acknowledged India’s role in the ongoing modernization efforts of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) which was highlighted by the country’s acquisition of three batteries of the BrahMos cruise missile system which will utilized for the Philippine Navy’s Shore-Based Anti-Ship Missile System (SBASMS).

These weapons are expected to be delivered within this year.

“As the Philippines continues to develop its own credible defense posture, Secretary Teodoro acknowledged India’s contribution to this effort, particularly through its participation in the modernization of the AFP,” Andolong stressed.

In pursuit of deeper defense and military relations, both officials agreed to convene multi-level dialogue mechanisms, conduct practical cooperative activities focused on capability development, and increase education and training exchanges.

The Indian official shared the best practices of India’s Information Fusion Centre-Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) in promoting regional maritime safety through information sharing and collaboration among member countries. (PNA)