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27th March 2024 (11 Topics)

India backs Philippines’ national sovereignty


Amid a flaring up of tensions between Beijing and Manila over the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, India has taken its side and backed the Philippines in upholding its national sovereignty and seeks “staunch adherence” to a rules-based order.

1: Dimension- India-Philippines’ growing relations

  • Strategic cooperation between India and the Philippines, especially in defence and security, has grown significantly in recent years.
  • India’s ties with the Philippines have grown in areas such as trade, investment, health, food security, education, science and technology, defence and maritime cooperation.
  • In 2022, Manila became the first foreign customer for the BrahMos cruise missile by inking a USD 375-million order for the weapon system developed by India and Russia.
  • India and the Philippines are also part of the Indo-Pacific maritime domain awareness initiative.
  • Both countries are “staunch advocates” of freedom of navigation and adherence to international law, including UNCLOS and the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.
    • This ruling declared China’s claims in South China as unlawful.

2: Dimension-India’s interests in the Region

  • India is “deeply invested” in the region because of its Act East policy and Indo-Pacific vision and strongly supports Asean’s centrality and unity.
  • Strategic interests, freedom of navigation, and oil and gas resources are the three factors determining India's expanded involvement in the South China sea.
  • Geographically, Southeast Asia serves as a backyard for India and a gateway to the Indian Ocean.

Fact Box

South China Sea

  • The South China Sea, one of the world’s busiest waterways, is subject to several overlapping territorial disputes involving China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei.
  • All countries use differing versions of history to back their assertions of sovereignty.
  • Who claims what?
    • China claims more than 80 percent, while Vietnam claims sovereignty over the Paracel Islands and the Spratly Islands.
    • The Philippines asserts ownership of the Spratly archipelago and the Scarborough Shoal, while Brunei and Malaysia have claimed sovereignty over southern parts of the sea and some of Spratly Islands.
    • China claims by far the largest portion of territory - an area defined by the "nine-dash line".
    • China‘s “nine-dash line” is a geographical marker used to assert its claim. It stretches as far as 2,000km from the Chinese mainland, reaching waters close to Indonesia and Malaysia.

Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA)

  • The Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA), an initiative with regional partners and allies to promote a free and open Pacific.
  • It was introduced by the Quad group.

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