By Francis Wakefield
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana today said the defense department is looking at a military to military cooperation with India as part of the efforts by the government to modernize the Philippine military.
In an interview, Lorenzana said that aside from military to military cooperation, the country is also looking for defense equipment from the world’s fifth highest spenders on defense.
“Yes, we are looking at a military to military cooperation kasama na yung mga (included are the) defense equipment na maari nating bilhin mula sa kanila (which we can buy from them),” Lorenzana said.
Lorenzana, who visited India for the first time being part of President Duterte’s team that visited New Dehli, India as part of the 2018 India-ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Commemorative Summit, said his succeeding visit to the world’s second most populous nation in the world will be more substantive.
The defense secretary said they are also looking at acquiring naval ships to help boost the maritime defense of the country.
“Yes, in fact one of their shipbuilding companies (Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineering Ltd.) actually was the initial winner of the two frigates but was disqualified in the second round of prequalification process. The contract eventually went to the second lowest calculated bid submitted by Hyundai,” Lorenzana said.
The defense department earlier said that Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineering Ltd. was disqualified from the process as the company’s net financial capacity was not enough, thus not compliant with Republic Act 9184 also known as the Government Procurement Policy Board.
The DND earlier allocated P18 billion to purchase two missile-capable frigates as part of the Philippine Navy’s modernization program.
The P16 billion will be used to build the ships while the remaining P2 billion is meant to purchase munitions for combat purposes.
The defense department said the frigates will be armed with a variety of sensors and weapons capable of detecting and neutralizing air, surface and submarine threats.
In an article posted online and can be read at https://www.google.com.ph/amp/s/m.hindustantimes.com/world-news/india-is-fifth-largest-military-spender-with-outlay-of-55-9-bn-sipri/story-bOH1JVFUcnOxKH3XTdncSM_amp.html, India was at fifth place on the list of the world’s highest spenders on defense in 2016 as global military expenditure rose for a second consecutive year to $1,686 billion, according to a new report.
New Delhi’s military expenditure grew by 8.5 percent last year to $55.9 billion, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s annual report on defense spending.