PHL eyes military-to-military cooperation, hardware deal with India

“We are looking at a military-to-military cooperation [with India] kasama na yung mga defense equipment na maari nating bilhin mula sa kanila. First-time India visit ko ito. Succeeding visits will be more substantive,” National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told PNA.

Secretary Lorenzana is with President Rodrigo Duterte in New Delhi, India who attended the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit and India’s Republic Day celebration.

“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,” Lorenzana said.

Indian shipbuilder Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineer (GRSE) was the lowest calculated bidder in Philippine government’s Frigate Acquisition Program (FAP). GRSE’s offer was based on Indian Navy’s Kamorta-class anti-submarine corvette.

However, after the post-qualification inspection, it was determined that GRSE’s Net Financial Capacity was insufficient

Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), the second lowest bidder, eventually got the contract to supply two frigates to Philippine Navy.

President Duterte and India Prime Minister Narendra Modi conducted a bilateral meeting on January 24 at Hyderabad House.

“The two heads of state agreed that relations while already very good will even be better and that there will be further bilateral negotiations on issues involving trade and even military cooperation in the next two months,” Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque said in a briefing on January 25 in India.

“The Prime Minister actually said that they have expertise in ships and other military hardware,” Roque noted. “President Duterte just manifested in the same way that he has decided to purchase weapons from China and Russia that he will also consider purchasing Indian weapons.”