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Talks With Philippines On BrahMos, Other Defence Sales Once COVID Travel Curbs Ease?

NEW DELHI: As part of the second phase of Vande Bharat repatriation mission, five flights are scheduled to carry back Indians stranded in the Philippines from May 19. While four flights are scheduled from Manila to Visakhapatnam, Kochi, Bengaluru and Jaipur, one flies from Cebu to Ahmedabad. In all, 7000 Indians have registered with the Indian embassy to return from the archipelago where over 800 people have died due to the viral outbreak. The first phase of the evacuation was tough, India’s Ambassador to the Philippines, Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia Jaideep Mazumdar tells StratNews Global Associate Editor Amitabh P. Revi. He outlines the difficulties posed by the strict lockdown and the fact that there is no Air India ground presence in the country. The envoy praises the mission staff for coordination efforts, among them consular officer ‘Mishraji’ and a lady officer who sent her child’s colouring books to a family who had a disconsolate 5-year-old and were sheltering in a local gurudwara. All this at a time the Philippines has been battered by a typhoon.

On business ties, Indian IT, pharma, automobile and two-wheeler companies have a significant presence in the Philippines, Ambassador Mazumdar points out. When asked about the interest evinced by the Philippines’ Defence Minister in the BrahMos defence platform, the envoy says, “Discussions are on for a range of platforms and defence systems. Once travel becomes possible, joint committees will meet and discuss the different programmes we have on defence purchases.” Ambassador Mazumdar also says the Philippines is a major staging ground for Indian Air Force aircraft and Naval ships in joint exercises in the Far East and in the South China Sea held bilaterally or multilaterally with Russia, the U.S., Australia, Japan and the host.

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Jaideep Mazumdar is India’s Ambassador-designate to Austria where he will also represent New Delhi at international organisations like the IAEA, OPEC, UNIDO, UNODC and the Wassenaar Arrangement.

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The 'Eye' of the story not the 'I' of the story. That's Amitabh Pashupati Revi's credo from the beginning of his professional journey in 1995. From conflicts in the war zones of Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq to nuances of international politics in the Maldives,Thailand, and South Sudan, Amitabh has reported from all the world's continents, except for Antarctica(so far). Though, he has documented the world's third pole, the Siachen Glacier!
Amitabh reports and produces documentaries on the two-front China-Pakistan threat to India. His ground reports from Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh have received viewership in the hundreds of thousands. Amitabh has interviewed world leaders, top global analysts, and experts in India, Russia, the United States, and Australia as well. Along the way, he’s picked up the Russian language, the Ramnath Goenka Award for his reporting on the 'Islamic State' terrorist group in Iraq, the Khaled Alkhateb Award for his reporting from Palmyra, Syria, and the UN Dag Hammarskjöld Distinguished Journalist Fellowship. Last but not least, as a founder member of StratNews Global, Amitabh helps lead the reporting, editorial, production, and administration teams at StratNews Global, BharatShakti, and InterStellar on their journey ahead.