INS Kadmatt in Manila port call amid rising China-Philippines tensions in South China Sea

Team India Sentinels Thursday 14th of December 2023 09:55 AM

Indian and Philippine naval personnel pose before INS Kadmatt at Manila port. (Photo: Indian Navy)

New Delhi: Amid tension between the Philippines and China in the South China sea, Indian Navy’s corvette INS Kadmatt arrived at Manila, on Tuesday. The INS Kadmatt’s port call to the capital of the Philippines is a part of the Navy’s ongoing long-range operational deployment.

The visit seeks to strengthen the maritime cooperation between New Delhi and Manila.

During the INS Kadmatt’s port call, personnel of the Indian Navy and the Philippine Navy will engage in a wide range of activities, including professional interactions, domain expertise exchange, cross-deck visits, etc, to enhance cooperation between the two navies and learn each other’s best practices.

Visits by school children and activities for community outreach are also planned during the visit.

After its departure from Manila, INS Kadmatt, which is an indigenously designed and built anti-submarine warfare (ASW) corvette with state-of-the-art anti-submarine weapons, and the Philippine Navy’s offshore patrol vessel Ramon Alcaraz will conduct a joint drill in the South China Sea.

It may be recalled that India has sold the shore-based anti-ship BrahMos missiles to the Philippines. Earlier this year, 21 marines from the Philippines completed their operator training of the missile system in Nagpur, as India Sentinels had reported then.

South China Sea and China-Philippines tension

It may be mentioned that tension has been rising between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea, which escalated from flashing lasers to firing water cannons by Chinese coast guard vessels at Filipino ships. The tensions spiked after a Chinese vessel collided with a Filipino vessel earlier this month, which the Philippines condemned what it called a “serious escalation of Chinese aggression”.

The Philippine coast guard also said Chinese coast guard and “militia” ships continue to harass its ships in the region. China claims the entire South China Sea as its sovereign territorial waters and has maritime disputes with almost every country in the region. It has also built artificial islands on it and militarized them.

Quad and US commitment to defend Philippines

India is a member of the four-nation Quadrilateral Dialogue, colloquially called Quad, along with the United States, Japan, and Australia. This quasi-military group of four nations cooperate with each other in maintaining maritime security, freedom of navigation, and in HADR (humanitarian assistance and disaster relief) operations.

Interestingly, the Philippines has a mutual defence treaty with the US. In October this year, the US president, Joe Biden, said Washington had an “ironclad” commitment to defend Manila and warned Beijing that his country will defend the Philippines in case China attacks it in the South China Sea.


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