Plugins defined in config.xml



So i’ve been dealing with ionic 1.x for a while now and recently I updated everything (node, npm, ionic, cordova, etc).

So before I did those updates (lets say few months ago) i’ve been working on ionic projects and they had no plugins defined in config.xml.
What I’m saying is this values in config for example

  <plugin name="cordova-plugin-device" spec="~1.1.3"/>
  <plugin name="cordova-plugin-console" spec="~1.0.4"/>
  <plugin name="cordova-plugin-whitelist" spec="~1.3.0"/>
  <plugin name="cordova-plugin-splashscreen" spec="~4.0.0"/>
  <plugin name="cordova-plugin-statusbar" spec="~2.2.0"/>
  <plugin name="ionic-plugin-keyboard" spec="~2.2.1"/>

So now my question is what has changed?
Why are those plugins all of a sudden being defined in config.xml?
Can I remove them?
When doing cordova remove plugin-name, they don’t get removed from config so you have to do it manually.