Philippines Set to Be First Buyer of India-Russia Cruise Missile (excerpt)
(Source: Nikkei Asian Review; published Nov. 22, 2020)
By Kiran Sharma and Cliff Venzon
NEW DELHI / MANILA --- India and Russia are looking to export to the Philippines their jointly developed BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, a move that may unnerve Beijing, given its border standoff with New Delhi and territorial disputes with other neighbors in the South China Sea.

The BrahMos takes its name from two rivers -- the Brahmaputra in India and the Moskva in Russia. The missile is manufactured by an Indo-Russian joint venture, BrahMos Aerospace, which was set up in India in 1998 and is responsible for designing, developing and marketing the missile.

"All tests of contemporary versions [of the missile] are successful," said Roman Babushkin, Russia's No. 2 diplomat in New Delhi, in a recent online briefing. Babushkin added that Russia and India are "planning to gradually increase the range of these exclusive missiles and, of course, [to] begin exporting to third countries, starting with the Philippines."

Asked if it had already ordered the weapons, Arsenio Andolong, a spokesman at the Philippine Department of National Defense, told Nikkei Asia that the Southeast Asian nation had inquired about the missile but that the purchase "is still under evaluation." Adding, "It is part of our modernization program to enhance our territorial defense capability."

Last December, the Philippines said that it planned to buy the BrahMos for the army and air force to boost its coastal defenses. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the contract would be signed by the second quarter of 2020, and consist of "two batteries," according to the state-run Philippine News Agency. A BrahMos missile battery comprises three mobile autonomous launchers.

The BrahMos would be the Philippines' first weapons system with deterrent capability, Lorenzana said. (end of excerpt)


Click here for the full story, on the Nikkei website.

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