India interested to supply military equipment: Lorenzana

MANILA -- Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Friday India has expressed interest to help in the Philippine military modernization by supplying equipment.

Lorenzana made the remark when asked if the Philippines and India have agreed to sign any agreement during last week's 31st ASEAN Summit.

"Wala kaming napirmahan ngayon but we already have some documents, memorandum of understanding about visitation, mga (military) students coming here, or students, officers of the AFP and enlisted personnel of the AFP going there," Lorenzana said.

What seems apparent during the meeting with India is the country's desire to supply the Philippines with equipment it needs for the military's modernization program, Lorenzana said.

"Ang gusto nilang pasukan dito, is they want to provide us, to supply us also with equipment kasi they have a very robust defense industry, gumagawa sila dyan ng mga barko, mga tangke, whatever mga bala, in fact in the past we bought yung rounds ng mga artillery sa kanila, so they are capable of doing that and they want to tap into our market kasi alam nila nagmomodernize tayo, marami tayong binibili gusto rin nilang pumasok," the DND chief said.

India has expressed interest in selling naval frigates to the Philippines.

This is not India's first time to participate in the AFP Modernization Program, as one of India's leading shipyards Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers previously joined the bid to secure an PHP18 billion frigate program but eventually lost to South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries.

"In fact nagparticipate sila sa bidding last time sa frigate (project) kaya lang natalo sila sa pangalawa, they won in the first round pero nung pumunta yung ating mga technical personnel sa India para (i-inspect) yung kanilnag financial capability, they found out they cannot, there were technically, nadisqualify sila so that's why Hyundai won kasi sila yung pangalawa," he added.

In the contract, two frigates with anti-submarine, anti-air, and anti-surface capabilities were supposed to be constructed for the Philippines.

Source: Philippine News Agency