On 13 December, there will also be a 'maritime partnership exercise' between INS Kadmatt and Philippine Navy's BRP Ramon Alcaraz in the West Philippine Sea

Amidst the ongoing Philippines-China naval standoff, an Indian warship has been docked in Manila for a “goodwill visit”.

As a part of its regional deployment in the Indo-Pacific, INS Kadmatt, Indian Navy’s Kamorta class anti-submarine warfare corvette, Tuesday commenced its two-day visit.

This is INS Kadmatt’s second visit to the Philippines. Its first port was in October 2017.

The docking of the Indian warship in Manila comes amid heightened tensions between Philippine and Chinese vessels in the South China Sea.

China, Philippines trade blame after boat-ship collision in South China Sea

Over the weekend, Chinese and Philippine vessels were embroiled in multiple clashes in the South China Sea amid a continued escalation of tension between both countries over maritime territory.

On Sunday, the Philippines said the latest incident of collision happened during its resupply mission to a tiny garrison on Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratly Islands, which is a flashpoint for Manila and Beijing.

This came a day after the Philippines’ sea task force said its vessels were damaged after being “directly targeted” by a Chinese coast guard ship that used water cannons to “obstruct” three government boats delivering provisions to Filipino fishermen near Scarborough Shoal, off the main island of Luzon.

Reportedly, General Romeo Brawner, the Philippine military chief, was on board during the incidents. The Philippines has lodged diplomatic protests and summoned Ambassador Huang Xilian.

The tension between Manila and Beijing over the sea flared up again in recent months after multiple incidents involving Philippine and Chinese vessels, including two previous collisions.

Indo-Pacific Important For India

Meanwhile, talking to reporters, India’s ambassador to the Philippines Shambhu Kumaran said the Indo-Pacific region holds considerable importance for India, emphasising the central location of the Philippines within the region.

He also highlighted the strong partnership between India and the Philippines and the close ties between both countries as fellow democracies.

“We have a shared interest in peace and stability of the region. So you will expect that India will continue a strong navy and maritime security engagement,” he said.

Kumaran also called for a rules-based order and respect for international law, after the recent face-off between China and Philippines vessels.

“We fully support our Philippine friends in their efforts to ensure that whatever happens in the seas respects the constitution of the seas,” he said.