Philippines, India to boost maritime cooperation

The Philippines and India are set to boost their maritime cooperation amid China’s expansive claims in the South China Sea (SCS).

Beijing recently published a new official version of its “standard map,” which places nearly the entire SCS within its national boundaries, including the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and parts of the Indian territory.

The Philippines, India, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Taiwan have since rejected the map, which features 10-dash lines.

“I would express my solidarity with the sentiment of the Philippines with regard to such efforts that I would call ‘cartographic expansionism’,” said Indian Ambassador to the Philippines Shambhu Kumaran in JP Soriano and Joseph Morong’s report on “24 Oras.”

“Our Minister has also commented on this, and he has described this map as ‘absurd,”’ he said.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and Indian Coast Guard (ICG) established a standard operating procedure (SOP) to allow direct contact between the two countries.

“It will allow us to have a pathway to transfer information and therefore help both countries,” said Kumaran.

Some PCG personnel will also be deployed to India for maritime training.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin previously said that Beijing has been routinely publishing such maps.

“China routinely publishes standard maps of various types every year, which aim to make standard maps available to all sectors of society,” Wang said.

But for National Security Adviser Eduardo A?o, the arbitral ruling was “final and binding.”

“The arbitral award is final and binding, and it gives us our maritime entitlement, our ‘extended’ economic zone, our territorial waters, and even our extended continental shelf,” he said.

For his part, retired Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio reiterated that the Philippines should start its exploration of oil and gas in its EEZ.

“If you can get the natural resources, the oil, and the gas, you win. Even if China doesn’t recognize that you have the EEZ, as long as you can get the oil and gas, you win, and that is why Malaysia and Indonesia are winning,” he said.

In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, based on a case filed by the Philippines, junked China’s nine-dash line claim covering nearly the entire SCS, including the West Philippine Sea.

China has refused to acknowledge the ruling. — Sundy Locus/VBL, GMA Integrated News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: