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India- Philippines Ties

  • 03 Jul 2023
  • 6 min read

Why in News?

Recently, 5th meeting of the Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation was convened, between Indian External Affairs Minister and his Philippines counterpart.

  • India and the Philippines are exploring various avenues to enhance their defence cooperation, with a particular emphasis on maritime security.

What are the Major Highlights of the Meet?

  • Defense Cooperation: Both Ministers expressed keen interest to continue to work together on defense cooperation, including through the regular or upgraded official-level interaction among defense agencies, opening of a resident Defense Attache office in Manila, consideration of India’s offer for concessional Line of Credit to meet Philippines’ defense requirements.
  • Maritime Security: Both countries aim to cooperate on maritime domain awareness (MDA), joint patrols, and information exchange to enhance MDA capabilities.
    • Emphasizing the utility of MDA, the Ministers called for the early operationalization of the standard operating procedure for the White Shipping Agreement between the Indian Navy and the Philippines Coast Guard.
  • Cyber Security Cooperation: Discussions focused on expanding cooperation in existing domains, including anti-terrorism measures and intelligence exchange. Both countries explored avenues for collaboration in cyber security, artificial intelligence, and space cooperation.
  • Regional and International Issues: The Ministers engaged in wide-ranging discussions on regional and international issues of mutual interest for e.g., China’s growing assertiveness and territorial claims in the South China Sea.

How is India’s Relations with Philippines?

  • About: India and the Philippines are two democratic countries in the Indo-Pacific region that share common approach towards the Indo-Pacific, emphasizing the importance of a free, open, and stable region.
  • Political Relations: India and the Philippines formally established diplomatic relations on 26 November 1949, shortly after both countries gained independence. (Philippines in 1946 and India in 1947).
    • When India launched Look East Policy and intensified partnership with Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1992, it also resulted in intensified relations with the Philippines both bilaterally and in the regional context.
    • With the Act East Policy (2014), the relationship with the Philippines has diversified further into political-security; trade and industry, etc.
  • Economic Relations: India is currently the Philippines' fifteenth largest trading partner, with trade worth approximately USD 3 billion in the 2022.
    • Also, Philippines has been a net importer in goods trade with India.
  • Defence Cooperation: India and the Philippines have a growing defense and security partnership. One of the most significant developments in defence cooperation between India and the Philippines is the BrahMos missile deal, which is expected to be finalised soon.
    • The BrahMos is a supersonic cruise missile co-developed by India and Russia, which can be launched from land, sea or air platforms.

What are the Key Facts About Philippines?

  • The Philippines is an archipelago located in Southeast Asia, bordered by the Philippine Sea to the east, the South China Sea to the west, and the Celebes Sea to the south.
    • It consists of 7,641 islands, with Luzon and Mindanao being the largest.
    • The capital city is Manila, situated on Luzon Island.
  • Mount Apo (2,954 meters) on Mindanao Island is the highest peak, and it is an active volcano.
  • The Philippines has a tropical climate with high temperatures and humidity year-round, experiencing wet and dry seasons.
  • The Philippines is considered one of the world's biodiversity hotspots.
  • The Philippines is also a part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, which makes it geologically active. It has more than 20 active volcanoes, including Mayon (recently erupted in 2023), Taal, and Mount Pinatubo (erupted in 1991).

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous year Question (PYQ)


Q1. Consider the following countries: (2018)

  1. Australia
  2. Canada
  3. China
  4. India
  5. Japan
  6. USA

Which of the above are among the ‘free-trade partners’ of ASEAN?

(a) 1, 2, 4 and 5
(b) 3, 4, 5 and 6
(c) 1, 3, 4 and 5 
(d) 2, 3, 4 and 6

Ans: (c)

Q2. The term ‘Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership’ often appears in the news in the context of the affairs of a group of countries known as (2016)

(a) G20
(c) SCO

Ans: (b)


Q. Evaluate the economic and strategic dimensions of India’s Look East Policy in the context of the post-Cold War international scenario. (2016)

Source: TH

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