Act East Policy Current Affairs - 2019

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Philippines army to buy India’s Brahmos missile

Brahmos missile is considered as one of the fastest supersonic missiles. Philippines army is acquiring Indian-manufactured weapon in order to strengthen its coastal defences. In 2018, Indian PM Modi signed 4 bilateral agreements during his visit to Philippines, and acquiring Brahmos is one among them.

Significance

  • The acquisition proves that India’s Act East Policy is being strengthened.
  • India’s bilateral relation with the South Asian Countries and also with Philippines has diversified
  • It will also help achieve India’s defence exports target of Rs 35,000 crore in the next 5 years.

Brahmos missile

The Brahmos is a medium range cruise missile that can be launched from submarine, aircraft, ships and land. It is the fastest supersonic missile in the world. The design of the missile was a joint venture between Russian federation and India’s DRDO. The name of Brahmos is formed from the names of two rivers Brahmaputra in India and Moskva in Russia.

In 2016, India became a part of Missile Technology Control Regime after which India and Russia are now planning to develop a new generation of Brahmos missile with a target range of 500-km.

India and Philippines sign agreements

President Ram Nath Kovind is on his official tour to Philippines and Japan. In the first leg of his visit he reached Manila, Philippines on October 17, 2019. He met his Philippines counter part and signed four agreements on science and technology, culture, tourism and maritime. The agreement includes sharing of white shipping data. White shipping includes information about identification and movement of commercial and non-military vessels.

China claims most of the contested sea in the region. It includes waters close to the Philippines waters as well. In June 2019, a Chinese fishing trawler sank a Philippines boat. Many such mishaps are common in these waters. China had also dismissed a UN-backed international tribunal ruling that said that its assertion to the South China Sea is without legal basis.

 Significance of the visit

  • India believes that engagement with ASEAN countries is a critical element of India’s Act East Policy
  • Philippines is an important focus country for India’s corporate sector. There is immense potential to deepen India-Philippines economic ties
  • India is looking forward to participate in the infrastructural development and defense modernization of Philippines
  • Indian companies are interested to invest in Philippines health, pharma, innovation start-ups and digital industries.

Highlights of the visit

  • President paid his tributes to Dr Jose Rizal, the national hero of Philippines
  • The President visited Malaccan Palace. He was accorded a ceremonial welcome at the palace.
  • The visit was to commemorate 70th anniversary of India-Philippines relations