As part of Manila's ambition to bolster up its defence amid territorial strife with China, India and the Philippines are expected to sign a $374.9 million deal next week for the sale of "several" BrahMos shore-based supersonic cruise missile systems. The Philippines' Department of National Defense issued a 'Notice of Award' on December 31st, requesting that BrahMos, an Indo-Russian joint venture, sign the contract.
The Indian Navy and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully tested the BrahMos Supersonic Cruise Missile earlier this week. The missile is a collaborative venture between India and Russia, with the Indian side represented by the DRDO. The missile was fired from the INS Visakhapatnam, the Indian Navy's newest vessel, which was just enlisted.
The Indian Navy's main armament system, BrahMos, has been installed on practically all of its surface units. An underwater version is also being created, which will be utilized not only by Indian submarines but also exported to friendly nations.
Why is the Philippines buying Brahmos?
It is to be noted that in November last year, Chinese coast guard ships intercepted two Philippines supply boats and fired water cannons at them as they attempted to reach a disputed shoal in the South China Sea controlled by Filipino troops. The move is seen as a way to tame the dragon in the South China Sea, where Beijing has continued its salami-slicing tactics for a long time now.
As a result, the Philippines government issued an alert, stating that its boats are covered by a mutual defence treaty with the US. The Philippines' budget department issued two special allotment release orders (SARO) in December, totaling Peso 1.3 billion (Rs 190 crore) and Peso 1.535 billion (Rs 224 crore).
The SARO enables the country's Department of National Defense to complete military equipment contracts. Discussions between India and the Philippines for BrahMos had been going on for a time now when they struck a snag in December 2020, with Manila citing budgetary constraints caused by the Covid-19 outbreak as the reason. India and the Philippines signed a significant enabling agreement in March 2021, that prepared the path for government-to-government defence equipment deals, including the BrahMos.