New Delhi (Agencies): Amid escalating tensions in the South China Sea, India has firmly reiterated its support for the Philippines and its national sovereignty. The Philippines is currently embroiled in a territorial dispute with Beijing, and India’s stance underscores the importance of upholding sovereignty rights.

Speaking alongside Philippines Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo after bilateral talks in Manila, Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar emphasized the need for nations like theirs to cooperate closely in shaping the emerging global order. Jaishankar asserted that every country has the right to protect its national sovereignty.

In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lin Jian asserted that third parties should not interfere in the maritime dispute between China and the Philippines.

The South China Sea tensions escalated when Manila granted the US greater access to military bases in 2023 under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). Beijing’s claims in the region extend over almost the entire South China Sea, disregarding rival claims from other countries, including the Philippines.

Recently, Manila accused Chinese vessels of damaging a Philippines supply ship and injuring crew members near a disputed shoal, leading to a diplomatic confrontation.

Jaishankar’s remarks also coincide with India’s border tensions with China over the Arunachal Pradesh state, an area that China refers to as ‘Zangnan’.

In a related development, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a tunnel during his visit to the region, potentially expediting military deployment near the contested border with China.

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