New Delhi: India and Philippines are likely to sign a $374.9 million deal next week for the supply of “multiple” BrahMos shore-based supersonic cruise missile systems as part of Manila’s plan to beef up its defence amid territorial conflict with China.
Sources in the defence and security establishment told ThePrint that the contract would entail an unspecified number of missiles and launchers, spare parts, payment schedule and delivery and training schedule.
Philippines’ Department of National Defence Thursday published a ‘Notice of Award’ dated 31 December, asking BrahMos, an Indo-Russian joint venture, to sign the contract.
Sources explained that this means that Philippines has accepted the Indian proposal and is now seeking to sign the contract. They said an Indian delegation is slated to visit Manila next week to sign the contract — the first export order for the BrahMos cruise missile that has a range of 290 km.
They also explained the contract is for the shore-based variant of the anti-ship missile system and it will bolster Philippines’ defence capability amid increasing Chinese aggression.
Budget allotments for military
In November, Chinese coast guard ships blocked and used water cannons on two Philippines supply boats heading to a disputed shoal occupied by Filipino marines in the South China Sea.
This led to a warning from the Philippines government that its vessels are covered under a mutual defence treaty with the United States.
In December, Philippines’ budget department issued two special allotment release orders (SARO) — worth Peso 1.3 billion (Rs 190 crore) and Peso 1.535 billion (Rs 224 crore).
The SARO allows the country’s Department of National Defence to finalise contracts for military hardware.
Negotiations for BrahMos between India and the Philippines had been going on for the last few years, but hit a roadblock in December 2020, with Manila citing budgetary limitations caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In March 2021, India signed a key enabling pact with the Philippines that had paved the way for government-to-government deals on defence equipment, including BrahMos.
(Edited by Saikat Niyogi)