According to recent reports, In order to expand its defence footprint in the Indo-Pacific region, India has reached an understanding with the Philippines for exporting military equipment to the nation which has been a victim of China’s expansionist plans in the South China Sea.
The deal which was concluded in Manila would enable a wider defense interface between India and the Philippines, The Philippines will be the first country to receive BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles jointly developed by India and Russia.
The BrahMos (designated PJ-10) s a medium-range ramjet supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft, or land. It is the fastest supersonic cruise missile in the world. Brahmos supersonic cruise missile is currently the best stand-off weapon fielded by the Indian Armed forces.
Earlier, the Indian Government had extended a $100 million defense-related line of credit to Manila. The Philippines, a key US ally for decades, has been keen to diversify sources for defense hardware, sources familiar with the country’s defense sector reported.
The Philippines had recently expressed concerns over China’s new coast guard law. It’s also a stakeholder in the South China Sea region and is the only country to approach the UN tribunal on the issue. BrahMos will provide a powerful deterrent against PLAN (Chinese Navy)
The arrangement was concluded following a foreign minister-level meeting last November. At the meet, both sides aimed to implement the arrangement through “military training and education, capacity building, regular goodwill visits and procurement of defense equipment”.
The two countries had also identified counter-terrorism as an area for security cooperation. It may be recalled that New Delhi had donated $500,000 for rehabilitating Marawi city in Mindanao, which was under the terrorists’ siege in 2017.
Defense ties between New Delhi and Manila have been growing steadily. In 2018, a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Defence and Logistics was signed. An MOU on Sharing of White Shipping Information—non-military/non-government shipping vessel information—was inked last year.
In 2018, Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana met his then-Indian counterpart Sitharaman and visited the Indian Western Naval Command headquarters in Mumbai.
Later in 2019, the Philippine Navy joined its counterparts from India, the United States, and Japan for a group sail in the South China Sea. In February 2020, Indian Coast Guard Ship Shaunak made a port visit to Manila, and Indian naval vessels—guided missile frigate INS Sahyadri and anti-submarine corvette INS Kiltan— visited in October.
Last May, India assisted the Philippine Navy ship, BRP Alcaraz, after it caught fire. Early this year, the third meeting of the bilateral Joint Defence Cooperation Committee was held in Manila to discuss defense procurement.The Philippines, which plans to purchase Scorpene submarines from France, may also gather familiarity from the Indian Navy on Scorpenes.