Vietnam is reconsidering deal as it is in direct talks with Russia for supply of similar missiles
Contrary to reports earlier this month in the Vietnamese media about sale and delivery of Brahmos cruise missiles, negotiations for the system with India have stalled, with indications that Hanoi is reconsidering the offer.
Sources who did not wish to be named told ThePrint that detailed talks had been held on the sale of the cruise missiles — jointly developed and produced by India and Russia — but the matter got stuck on pricing and technology issues.
India has offered Vietnam a $500 million line of credit for defence-related equipment, but the utilisation of these funds depends on what the nation requires. India is already working on new patrol boats for Vietnam as well as a refit of its older Petya-class warships with modern equipment.
Ironically, the biggest challenge to the Brahmos sale has come from joint developer Russia itself that has similar missiles to offer. Russia, which has seen its international market for arms shrink with growing competition from players like China, has Vietnam as one of its major customers for military equipment.
It is learnt that Hanoi has been in talks with Russia’s NPO Mashinostroyeniya, which makes similar supersonic cruise missiles for the export market, including the Yakhont that can be used for shore defence systems.
While pricing could be one consideration — a direct purchase from Russia could turn out to be cheaper — Vietnam is also looking at some technology transfer that may turn the matter in Moscow’s favour. Besides, Brahmos is marketed by a government-controlled corporation, limiting Indian ability to incentivise sales.
As has been reported, India will weaponise two Petya-class frigates of the Vietnamese Navy to make them fit for an anti-submarine role. The Russian origin frigates are getting new sonar system, torpedo launchers and a modern fire control system.
Vietnam will also get 10 new patrol boats from India as part of an earlier $100 million line of credit. Besides, talks are also on for the high-speed heavy weight ‘Varunastra’ torpedo that has been developed by India.
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