New Delhi: India and the Philippines are expected to sign a $374.9 million deal next week to supply “multiple” BrahMos coast-based supersonic cruise missile systems as part of Manila’s plan to bolster their defense amid regional conflict with China.
Sources in the defense and security establishment told ThePrint that the contract will cover an unspecified number of missiles and launchers, spare parts, payment schedules, and delivery and training programs.
The Philippines’ National Defense Department on Thursday, December 31, published a ‘Notice of Award’ asking India-Russia joint venture BrahMos to sign the contract.
Sources said this means that the Philippines has accepted the Indian offer and is now seeking to sign the contract. He said an Indian delegation is scheduled to visit Manila next week to sign the contract – the first export order for the BrahMos cruise missile which has a range of 290 km.
He also explained that the contract is for a shore-based version of the anti-ship missile system and it will strengthen the defense capability of the Philippines amid Chinese aggression.
Budget allocation for army
In November, Chinese Coast Guard ships used water cannons on two supply boats from the Philippines headed for the disputed shoal occupied by Filipino Marines in the South China Sea.
In December, the Philippines’ budget department issued two Special Allocation Release Orders (SAROs) – worth peso 1.3 billion (Rs 190 crore) and peso 1.535 billion (Rs 224 crore).
SARO allows the country’s national defense department to finalize contracts for military hardware. This caused the Philippines government to warn that its ships were covered under a mutual defense treaty with the United States.
Negotiations for BrahMos between India and the Philippines had been going on for the past few years, but in December 2020, Manila hit a roadblock citing budgetary limitations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In March 2021, India signed a key enabling agreement with the Philippines, which paved the way for government-to-government deals on defense equipment, including BrahMos.