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13 Jan 16. Official: Philippines to Offer the Use of Eight Bases to US Forces. The Philippines is set to offer the US military use of eight bases, a military spokesman said Wednesday, after the country’s supreme court upheld a security agreement with Washington forged in the face of rising tensions with China.
The facilities include the former US Clark airbase and air and naval facilities on the southwestern island of Palawan, which faces the South China Sea, the focus of territorial disputes with China.
Military spokesman Colonel Restituto Padilla said the facilities would be used to store equipment and supplies.
He added that the offer had still to be finalized after the Philippine Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a 10-year security accord.
The decision allows for the full implementation of the Enhanced Defense Co-operation Agreement (EDCA), signed in 2014 but not implemented due to legal challenges from groups opposed to US military involvement in the Philippines, a US colony from 1898 to 1946.
It will see more US troops rotate through the Philippines for war games and help Manila build military facilities.
“We have resumed talks now that there is a go-signal that EDCA is constitutional,” Padilla said.
“We are continuing talks and we will finalize the agreement on the locations,” he said without giving a timetable when the decision would be reached.
The Philippines hosted two of the largest overseas US military bases until 1992, when the senate voted to end their leases, a decision influenced by anti-US sentiment. The new pact does not authorize a return of US bases. China and the Philippines — as well as Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan — have conflicting claims to the South China Sea, which is a major shipping lane, rich fishing ground and potential source of mineral resources. The Philippines has been seeking closer defense ties with the United States, accusing China of increased aggressiveness in the South China Sea. In April 2012, after a tense stand-off with Philippine ships, Chinese vessels took control of a shoal just 220 kilometers (135 miles) off the main Philippine island of Luzon.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino negotiated the EDCA to help the Philippines improve its military capabilities and draw the United States closer, partly to counter China’s increasing presence. (Source: Defense News)
11 Jan 16. Reliance Defence To Build Yard for Sub Construction. Eyeing the Indian Navy’s plan to build six nuclear attack submarines, private sector Reliance Defence has announced it will set up a dedicated shipyard close to the Navy’s shipyard at Visakhapatnam to build nuclear submarines. The shipyard will “be co-located with the Indian Navy’s strategic base and Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC’s) nuclear facility at Rambilli 70 kilometers south of Vizag,” according to a Sunday statement by Reliance Defence, a subsidiary of Reliance Infrastructure owned by billionaire Anil Ambani.
Speaking at a summit in Vishakhapatnam, Ambani said the facility will be built with an initial investment of $757m, adding that the facility could lead to the creation of an array of defense ancillaries with further investments of up to $1.5bn.
Commenting on the status of the Navy’s aircraft carrier and submarines, Ambani said: “The US today has 10 aircraft-carrier groups operating around the world to project its power and protect its interests and was on course to add another three, while India had barely one.
“Similarly, while the US has 72 submarines and China 69, India has a small fleet of 17 submarines.”
A Defence Ministry official, however, said the Navy will invest up to $45bn to add new