The Indian Navy on Monday conducted a series of naval exercises with the Philippines Navy in the South China Sea — also known by the Philippines as the West Philippines Sea — one week after India carried out a similar format exercise with Vietnam in the region that has been witnessing growing Chinese military expansionism and misadventure in the adjoining waters.
Pitched by the Modi Administration, the vessels deployed under Pacific deployment were encouraged by the “Act East Policy.” The Indian Navy sent its guided-missile destroyer INS Ranvijay and guided missile corvette INS Kora to the exercise, and the Philippine Navy was represented by its frigate BRP Antonio Luna, according to an Indian Navy spokesperson.
“Two ships of the Indian Navy, INS Ranvijay and INS Kora, on deployment to the Western Pacific, carried out a maritime partnership exercise with BRP Antonio Luna of the Philippine Navy on Monday in the West Philippine Sea,” Indian Navy Spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal said.
The waters between China, Vietnam, and the Philippines have a different set of designations, including that the Philippines government refers to it as the West Philippine Sea while China claims the entire sea as their region of the South China Sea.
Indian and Vietnamese navies also carried out a naval exercise in the region on August 18.
China’s interest in the West Philippines Sea is part of an ambitious factor of resource mining and strategic claim through its naval presence, resulting in tensions between China and its neighbors.