PH exploring possible military cooperation with India: Lorenzana
MANILA — The Philippines is looking at a possible military cooperation with India aside from the possibility of procuring Indian defense equipment needed for the upgrade of its defense capabilities.
This was disclosed by Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who was among President Rodrigo Duterte’s entourage in the ongoing ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit.
“Yes, we are looking at a military-to-military cooperation kasama na yung mga defense equipment na maari nating bilhin mula sa kanila (including defense equipment that we can acquire from them). First-time India visit ko ito (This is my first time to visit India). Succeeding visits will be more substantive,” he said in a message to the Philippine News Agency.
“In fact one of their shipbuilding companies actually was the initial winner of the two frigates but was disqualified in the 2nd round of pre-qualification process. The contract eventually went to the second lowest calculated bid submitted by Hyundai (Heavy Industries),” said Lorenzana, when asked on whether the defense equipment would include Indian-designed and constructed naval craft.
The Indian shipbuilder Lorenzana was referring was the Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineering Ltd.
The shipbuilder was determined disqualified after it was learned that its net financial capacity was insufficient, hence not compliant with Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Policy Board.
The DND has allocated about PHP18 billion for the acquisition of two missile-capable frigates, with PHP16 billion going to the construction of the ships and PHP2 billion for its munitions.
The ships will be armed with a variety of sensors and weapons capable of detecting and neutralizing air, surface, and submarine threats. (PNA)