Sources: Suga planning India, Philippines visit

Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide is reportedly adding more stops to his upcoming trip abroad as part of his push for a free and open Indo-Pacific. Government sources say plans are in the works for Suga to visit India and the Philippines as early as late April, after heading to Washington.

Suga has been working to deepen ties with the United States, Australia, India and other like-minded nations.
It comes amid growing international concern over China.

India has traditionally adopted a more unaligned foreign policy. But as border tensions with China mount, it seems more eager to work with Tokyo and Washington.

India is also seeking to deepen ties with Russia.
On Tuesday, the foreign ministers of the two countries agreed to further advance military cooperation.

Meanwhile, the Philippines is in the midst of a territorial dispute with Beijing in the South China Sea.
Policy watchers suggest Suga will use his visit there to strengthen cooperation on security issues and cement a network to check China's influence.

Suga's planned trip comes as the number of coronavirus cases is on the rise. The government is expected to make a final decision on whether he will go while carefully monitoring the situation.