NEW DELHI --- Export of supersonic cruise missile BrahMos, a joint venture product of India and Russia, to the South East Asian and the Gulf countries may commence later this year, an Indian defense official said on Wednesday.
For the past few years, there have been speculations about Vietnam negotiating with India for the purchase of the BrahMos — touted as the world's deadliest missile.
"A number of South East Asian countries are ready to buy our missiles. It will be our first export and we have received increasing interest in the missiles from the Gulf countries," Commodore S K Iyer, Chief General Manager for HR at BrahMos Aerospace, said at the IMDEX Asia 2019 exhibition.
The first missile export contract awaits a government to government approval, he added.
Last year, Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had stated a number of crucial issues required to be addressed before exporting what has been touted as the world's deadliest missile system.
It is believed that cost negotiation has been taking time as slower economic growths have put budgetary constraints on acquiring viable, cost-effective defense equipment to these nations.
BrahMos Aerospace is presently working on an order worth $7 billion by the three services of the Indian Armed Forces.
Based on the demand for armed helicopters, naval equipment, missiles including the BrahMos and the Akash air defense system, the Indian Defence Ministry has set a target of exports worth $5 billion by 2023.
The Indian official did not clarify if Russia agreed to export the missile to south Asian nation like Vietnam, considered a rival to China.
However, during the recently concluded Aero-India 2019, Russian officials confirmed to Financial Express Online that they had no objection to export of BrahMos Missiles to friendly nations.