Philippines, India in talks for supply of 7 helicopters

Helen Flores - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is in talks with India for the supply of seven helicopters that will be used for the rescue and humanitarian efforts of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Malacañang said yesterday.

According to the Presidential Communications Office, President Marcos discussed India’s offer with Indian Ambassador Shambhu Kumaran during their meeting at Malacañang last week.

Marcos said the new helicopters would be a big help to the Philippine government’s efforts to build up the country’s capabilities in terms of rescue and humanitarian efforts.

“We’re trying to build up our capacity – our capabilities in terms of our coast guard. Of course the search and rescue is always the primary consideration,” Marcos told Kumaran.

“As you heard the news, there is a continuing problem really that we have to deal with and we have to increase our capabilities,” the President added.

For his part, Kumaran said there are ongoing talks between the Indian government, the PCG and its mother agency, the Department of Transportation (DOTr), for the supply of seven helicopters for the agency’s maritime search and rescue operations and humanitarian services.

“The discussion is going on very well. The Coast Guard is very interested – they’ve flown the helicopter … I would request your consideration because that would be a very positive (program),” Kumaran told the President.

The helicopters that would be provided to the PCG are built for India’s Navy and Coast Guard that can be used for more active security operations that can carry more people and load, according to Kumaran.

“So, these (seven helicopters) are really an optimal solution, given the changing requirements for the Philippine Coast Guard to play a more active role and its security,” Kumaran said.

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