India, Philippines sign $375 million deal for BrahMos missiles
India and the Philippines signed a $375 million deal on Friday for the acquisition of the BrahMos supersonic anti-ship missile system. As per reports, the contract is for the supply of an undisclosed number of BrahMos missiles to the Philippine Navy. The missile system is manufactured by BrahMos Aerospace, an India-Russia joint venture. This is India's first-ever export order for BrahMos missiles.
Why does it matter?
The development is a big boost to India's ambitions to become a defense hardware exporter. The deal may also make way for more Southeast Asian countries to purchase defense armaments from India. China, whose aggressive behavior in the disputed South China Sea has brought its relations with the Philippines to a new low, will be unhappy with the deal.
'An important step forward for promoting defence exports'
"BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited (BAPL) signed a contract with the Department of National Defence of the Republic of Philippines on January 28, 2022 for supply of Shore Based Anti-Ship Missile System to Philippines," a statement from the Ministry of Defence read. "The contract is an important step forward for Government of India's policy of promoting responsible defence exports," it added.
'Notice of award' signed earlier this month
According to reports, the agreement was signed during a ceremony at Philippines' Department of National Defense in Quezon City. Delfin Lorenzana, the Philippine Defense Secretary, was present at the event. On January 14, Lorenzana said he had signed the "notice of award" - or acceptance of India's proposal to supply the missile. The Philippines government authorized $55.5 million for the initial funding.
What does the deal include?
While the number of missiles to be delivered is yet to be disclosed, reports have claimed that three batteries of BrahMos will be delivered, along with training and an integrated logistics support (ILS) package. The BrahMos agreement was first conceived in 2017, and the Philippines President's office accepted its incorporation in the military's "Horizon 2 Priority Projects" in 2020.
India has deployed BrahMos along the LAC
India has already deployed a large number of BrahMos missiles and other important assets in numerous crucial positions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) to counter Chinese influence. The missiles can be launched from submarines, ships, planes, or ground platforms. In 2019, India improved the range of the missile to 450-600 kilometers, which was originally capped at 290 kilometers.