Brahmos Delivery To Philippines Amid South China Sea Tensions Bolsters India's Defence Partner Status: Experts

(MENAFN- AsiaNet News) New Delhi:
India on Friday delivered the first batch of supersonic BrahMos missile system to the Philippines, marking the first-ever export of such weaponry to another nation.

This development follows a deal inked between the two countries two years and four months ago, securing three batteries of the BrahMos missile systems valued at approximately USD 375 million. The agreement was finalized in January 2022.

Transported via an Indian Air Force's C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft, the missile system arrived at Clark Airbase in the Philippines earlier today.

Asianet Newsable reached out to experts to gain insights into the significance of exporting the BrahMos system.

Dr Pooja Bhatt, a maritime scholar, told Asianet Newsable, "The timely delivery of the Brahmos missile makes India a reliable defence partner of like-minded countries that are seeking to bolster their security."

“With the South China Sea situation between China and the Philippines heating up, Brahmos missile adds to Manila's much needed coastal defence. But more importantly, it sends the strategic signal to Beijing that Manila has support from several countries including India on the South China Sea issue,” Dr Pooja Bhatt added.

It's worth noting that Beijing has consistently escalated tensions with the Philippines, prompting Manila to bolster its military capabilities by acquiring the BrahMos missile system.

In January 2023, at the BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited facility in Nagpur, Maharashtra, India provided training to 21 marine personnel from the Philippines on operating the systems. Following the conclusion of the training, Indian Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar awarded them interim missile badges and pins.

Another maritime expert and Assistant Professor at the Amity University's Department of Defence and Strategy Dr Aprajita Pandey said,“It is imperative that countries in the South China Sea build their military capabilities. China is expanding its influence in the Indo-Pacific and whole countries like Australia, India, and the US are taking cognizance of this attempt towards expansion. The countries which are sharing greater physical proximity with China stand to lose the most in Beijing's ambition towards growth.”

“The supply of the BrahMos system to the Philippines is a key event when it comes to countries in the region trying to build their arsenal. While it is clear that a singular move will not bridge the gap between Chinese and Pilipino military capacity, it does however bring in the aspect of mutual deterrence. This concept of mutually assured destruction because of the Philippines acquiring the BrahMos gives it greater leverage against China,” Dr Aprajita Pandey added.

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The Philippines has already activated its first shore-based anti-ship missile battalion (SBASMB), a specialized unit within the Coastal Defense Regiment assigned to operate BrahMos missiles.

With the receipt of BrahMos missile systems, the Philippines has made history as the first nation to acquire this system developed through the joint venture between India and Russia.

The agreement between New Delhi and Manila was finalized in response to reported belligerent actions and strategic expansions by China in the South China Sea.

Additionally, New Delhi is engaged in discussions with Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, and several other nations including the UAE, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. Interest in the system has also been expressed by Latin American countries like Brazil, Argentina, and Chile.

What does the BrahMos missile system boast of?

The BrahMos system delivered to the Philippines boasts a range of 290 kilometers and an impressive speed of 2.8 Mach, equivalent to three times the speed of sound.

BrahMos stands as a highly advanced supersonic cruise missile, capable of deployment from various platforms including land, submarines, ships, and aircraft.


AsiaNet News

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