India-Philippines defence relations could get stronger as Manila plans to acquire BrahMos missile. “There are discussions going on a range of weapons systems between India and the Philippines. Once travel becomes possible, the joint committee that looks at defence logistics will meet discuss these things,” said India’s ambassador to the Philippines Jaideep Majumdar.
In 2017, during the visit to the Philippines, Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Defense Industry and Logistics Cooperation (MoU). The MoU provides a framework for enhancing and strengthening cooperation in logistics support and services and in the development, production and procurement of defence materials.
India had offered $100 million a line of credit to the Philippines for defence purchases but Manila is considering the option to procure BrahMos missile with its own funds.
BrahMos Deals with other countries
ASEAN nations have earlier approached New Delhi exploring the idea to procure major defence and weapon systems, including the Akash and BrahMos missiles.
In the last few years, India has exported personal protective items or bulletproof gear and armour plating for military vehicles to the Philippines. New Delhi is now exploring the defence deals with Indonesia and Vietnam to sell its Indo-Russian missile, BrahMos.
India has earlier contracted to sell coastal defence radars and marine-grade steel to Indonesia and to service the Russian-made Su-30 combat jets flown by the Indonesian air force. “It is significant if India is offering the BrahMos missile to Indonesia. It enhances the relevance of India’s military profile as a credible exporter of cruise missile technology,” said Commodore (retired) C Uday Bhaskar.
This is a big push for PM Modi’s ‘Make in India’ campaign. “We are not a significant exporter of arms mainly because we have very little exportable military equipment,” Amit Cowshish, former Financial Advisor (Acquisition), Ministry of Defence stated.
BrahMos is a cruise missile which means that it can be controlled towards a pre-determined land- or sea-based target. It is classified as a supersonic cruise missile which can achieve a speed 2.8 times the speed of sound.
The name comes with the amalgamation of rivers Brahmaputra and Moskva and was produced by a joint venture between Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Mashinostroyenia of Russia.
“India’s missile development programme has made sure that its missiles are upgraded and new systems are also developed. BrahMos has undergone development through the early 2000s till date. Its land-to-land, submarine-fired and now air-fired variants have been developed stage by stage. Each new version has something additional compared to the previous version,” said a DRDO scientist.
The Indian Navy indicted the missiles on its warships in 2005 while army began acquiring from 2007 after a series of tests. After the Indian Air Force (IAF) successfully air-launched a Mach 2.8 supersonic surface-attack missile of this category from a fighter jet, it became the first in the world to do so.
India has been in talks with the ASEAN nations for a long time over the export of BrahMos missiles and experts are predicting that New Delhi should be able to make inroads into the South-East Asian nations as pressure from China mounts.