The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) have solidified their commitment to maritime collaboration through the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU). The pact, aimed at enhancing maritime cooperation, was sealed during an official visit by PCG Commandant Admiral Artemio Abu to India on August 22.
The collaborative effort between PCG and ICG reflects their shared dedication to fostering a secure and prosperous maritime environment. The MoU signifies their mutual pursuit of stronger professional bonds, conducting joint exercises, exchanging best practices, and boosting training collaborations.
Admiral Abu’s visit included a comprehensive tour of various maritime facilities, including Coast Guard District Headquarters No. 11, Goa Shipyard Limited, and the ICG Ship Sujeet. The Commandant also engaged in a flight demonstration aboard the Indian Coast Guard ALH MK-III. In New Delhi, Admiral Abu engaged with ICG Director General Rakesh Pal, formally signing the contract and participating in a bilateral meeting.
Commitment to Information Exchange
During his visit, Admiral Abu also met with representatives from the Indian Navy to operationalize a 2019 agreement concerning White Shipping Information. This arrangement focuses on the exchange of information related to non-military vessels, contributing to improved maritime safety and security in the region.
The engagement between PCG and ICG takes place against the backdrop of the escalating challenges posed by securing Philippine waters, especially given China’s ongoing aggressive actions in the West Philippine Sea. The strengthened cooperation between these maritime agencies signifies their dedication to navigating these challenges together.
India’s evolving stance on regional maritime security is noteworthy. Its increasing vocalization of concerns over China’s activities in the South China Sea indicates a shift from its traditionally non-aligned position. This strategic move allows India to articulate its views on China’s actions while avoiding direct alignment with competing global powers.
Maritime security expert Ray Powell highlights that India’s stance allows it to express its perspective on China’s behavior in the Philippines without formally siding with any superpower. This approach reflects India’s commitment to shared security while retaining its historical policy of non-alignment. As the relationship between PCG and ICG grows stronger, it offers the promise of enhanced cooperation, collaboration, and mutual growth.