Philippines to pursue ''window shopping'' for military equipment in Russia
Despite the warning by a United States defense official against acquiring military equipment from Russia, the Department of National Defense (DND) will continue to look into Russian equipment for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
“Window shopping, yes”," said DND spokesman Arsenio Andolong when asked if this will continue despite the warning made by Randall Schriver, US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, during his visit to country last week.
Schriver warned that the possible acquisition of big ticket items from Russia like submarines is not helpful to the Philippine and United States alliance.
"I think they should think very carefully about that. It’s not a, it’s not a, this, if they would have proceed with purchasing major Russian equipment, I don't think that’s a helpful thing to the alliance and ultimately I think we can be a better partner than the Russians can be to the Philippine people,” Schriver said.
“When you buy weapons systems particularly major platforms you're not just buying capability, you're investing in a relationship and finding US platforms, US solutions helps us continue in our interoperability, helps us improve our ability to operate in all kinds of scenarios, so that is an opportunity (cause) if you choose another supplier,” he noted.
Andolong said Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana is in Moscow to discuss areas of cooperation with his Russian counterpart.
“The (visit) was initiated by the invitation of Minister of Defense and General of the Army (Sergey) Shoygu, The Secretary of National Defense reciprocates his visit to the Philippine about two weeks ago,” he said.
“So now he went there to explore possible areas to deepen and develop our defense cooperation with Russia,” he added.
However, Andolong said “it’s not farfetched” that the procurement of submarine may also be discussed during Lorenzana’s visit in Russia.
“It’s not farfetched that they will talk about the submarines during his trip,” he said.
Lorenzana who left for Russia on August 16 is expected to return Friday. Robina Asido/DMS