India and the Philippines today signed a mega $ 374.96 (about Rs 2770 crore) missile deal under which New Delhi will export the BrahMos missiles to the South-east Asian nation, which has been involved in a running feud with China on maritime issues.
With this long-anticipated deal, India has joined the elite club of a few missile exporters in the world.
The agreement was signed by Atul Dinkar Rane on behalf of Brahmos Aerospace and Philippines Defence Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana on behalf of his government in Manila. Indian Ambassador to the Philippines Shambhu Kumaran was present to physically represent the Indian side at the event.
The deal was conceptualised in 2017 and the office of the Philippines President approved its inclusion in the Horizon 2 Priority Projects in 2020.
”Equipping our Navy with this vital asset is imperative as the Philippines continues to protect the integrity of its territory and defend its national interests,” Lorenzana said.
“As the world’s fastest supersonic cruise missiles, the Brahmos missiles will provide deterrence against any attempt to undermine our sovereignty and sovereign rights, especially in the West Philippine Sea,” he added, in an apparent reference to the challenge posed to his country by China. The coastal defence regiment of the Philippine marines will be the primary employer of the missiles.
The Indian government will be delivering three batteries and training the operators and maintainers as well as providing the necessary integrated logistics support as part of the deal.
Brahmos is a 1998 joint venture between Russia’s NPO Mashinostroyeniya and India’s Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). It derives its names from two rivers – India’s Brahmaputra and Russia’s Moskva. Brahmos is one of the fastest supersonic cruise missiles which can be launched from ship, land, air or from submarines.
India is also negotiating with other ASEAN countries, including Thailand, for exporting Brahmos.
China, of course, will not take kindly to the deal with the Philippines. China’s aggressive behaviour on the South China Sea is seen as one of the reasons that prompted Manila to expedite the deal for Brahmos.