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In a move that could strengthen India-Philippines defense ties, a high-level delegation from the Philippine Navy, Philippine Coast Guard, and Department of National Defense (DND) recently interacted with the crew of the indigenously built Naval Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH-Dhruv) onboard the Indian Navy ship INS Shakti.

This interaction is seen as a significant development in the ongoing discussions between India and the Philippines regarding the potential acquisition of the ALH-Dhruv helicopters. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the Indian aerospace giant, has already offered the Dhruv to both the Philippine Army and Air Force.

The on-board interaction with the INS Shakti crew provided the Philippine delegation with a firsthand opportunity to understand the Dhruv’s capabilities. This likely included briefings on the helicopter’s specifications, operational functionalities, and potential applications within the Philippine military and coast guard.

Whether the Philippine delegation’s interest translates into a concrete deal remains to be seen. However, this interaction signifies a positive step towards greater defense cooperation between the two nations. The Philippines will likely evaluate the Dhruv’s performance data and compare it to other potential options before making a final decision.