Philippines eyeing arms deal with India

THE Philippines is considering the acquisition of defense equipment and warships from India, Malacañang said on Thursday, January 25.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said this developed during a bilateral meeting between President Rodrigo Duterte and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held in New Delhi, India.

"There was a commitment, in fact, for the Philippines to purchase Indian military hardware," Roque told a press conference in India.

Duterte and some of his officials are currently in India for his participation in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-India Commemorative Summit.

Roque said Duterte's intent to acquire weapons from India came following Modi's remark that his country is capable to produce military equipment.

"The Prime Minister actually said that they have expertise in ships and other military hardware," the presidential spokesman said.

"President Duterte just manifested in the same way that he has decided to purchase weapons from China and Russia that he will also consider purchasing Indian weapons," he added.

Roque said Duterte also expressed gratitude to Modi for India's $500,000 donation as the Philippines rehabilitates Marawi City, which was already liberated by the Filipino troops following the May 23, 2017 siege by Islamic State-linked Maute group.

He added that the two leaders also sought to improve the military, political, economic, and business relations between the two countries.

"The meeting (between Duterte and Modi) lasted for one hour. The two leaders agreed on expanding bilateral ties on all fronts," Roque said. "The two heads of state agreed that relations, while already very good, will even be better." (SunStar Philippines)
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