Home / Politics / Policy /  Philippines urges India to play bigger role in Asia-Pacific and South China Sea

Philippines urges India to play bigger role in Asia-Pacific and South China Sea

This undated handout photo released by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) shows the alleged reclamation by China on what is internationally recognised as the Johnson South Reef in the South China Sea, otherwise known as the Mabini Reef by the Philippines and Chigua Reef by China. Photo: AFPPremium
This undated handout photo released by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) shows the alleged reclamation by China on what is internationally recognised as the Johnson South Reef in the South China Sea, otherwise known as the Mabini Reef by the Philippines and Chigua Reef by China. Photo: AFP

On its part, India seeks support of the Philippines to get membership of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum

New Delhi: Philippines foreign secretary Evan Garcia said on Friday that there was an attempt being made by powers in the Asian region to keep India out of discussions relating to the security architecture in the South-East Asia and Asia Pacific Regions.

Without naming any country, Garcia said: “There is a very clear attempt to rewrite the narrative of the region and it is trying to determine who should be at the table and who should be able to talk about what. India should wisely ignore this and just keep on doing what it has always been doing," he said.

Though he did not name any country, Garcia’s reference seemed to be to China, with which it has had some tensions in recent months.

The Philippine foreign secretary urged India to play a more prominent role in the Asia Pacific and South China Sea areas where China has been playing an increasingly dominant role. In recent times China has been in conflict with the Philippines and Vietnam over competing maritime claims in the resource-rich South China Sea.
“We are very glad that you are expressing greater interest...the existing system(world order in the region) is getting a little tired so newer guys (China by implication) they think can (find) newer ways that are more responsive to their needs and they like to present them as the needs of the region as well. So in such a situation why leave the salesmanship to one power? India can come in and sell too.... India from my point of view is not an invited guest, India should be at the head table."

On its part, India sought the support of the Philippines to get membership of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

“APEC is perhaps the one major grouping where India is conspicuous by its absence," Anil Wadhwa, secretary (east) in the ministry of external affairs, said at an event in New Delhi organised by the Research and Information Systems think tank.

“...we hope that our friend the Philippines which holds the APEC chairmanship this year will use its good offices to have the moratorium lifted... we believe India could play an important role within APEC."

When asked for his response, Garcia said the APEC agenda was so “overloaded that looking at new membership has fallen by the wayside".

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