In a new dimension to India’s growing stride towards becoming a superpower, Manila has signed a pact with the Indian government, for a potential purchase of the supersonic BrahMos cruise missiles. The pact was signed on March 2nd by the Defence Under-secretary Raymund Elefante and Indian ambassador to Philippines Shambu Kumaran at Camp Aguinaldo.
“We are buying the BrahMos missiles,” said Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who witnessed the signing ceremony. The potential sale would mean that India’s weapon manufacturing and exporting industry is experiencing new heights of displaying heir capabilities. The pact however, didn’t mention the number of missiles which would be sold to Philippines. Lorenzana said the agreement served as guide for the Philippines and India on “policies and procedures in the defence procurement”. It also served as a “legal framework for the procurement under the government-to-government modality”, Lorenzana added.
BrahMos is the world’s fastest anti-ship cruise missile in service, developed by BrahMos Corporation, a joint venture by the Governments of India and the Russian Federation. The missile is capable of being launched from ground-based TELs, via ships and by a fighter aircraft. The missile is based of the Russian P-800 Onyx missiles, adapting its sea-skimming technology. Several countries have expressed their interest to procure the missile system. The list includes Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Egypt, Oman, South Africa and even Philippines. However, as per the inter-governmental agreement between India and Russia, both the countries have to approve the sale for it to take place. This could mean that countries, which potentially have issues with allies or trading partners of the two nations, could fall out of favour.
The pact was expected to be signed last year, but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year the Indian government had also issues a line of credit worth $100 million to Philippines for the weapon systems deal. Earlier in another visit, Ambassidor Kumaran and BrahMos Aerospace Managing Director Sudhir Mishra, visited the potential users of this weapon systems: The Philippine Army and the Philippine Marines.
The potential factor which could influence the sale of these missile systems is China’s ties with Russia. China, in there recent past has shown dissatisfaction over the negotiations between the Governments of India and Vietnam regarding the missiles.