India announced that it has sold a number of Antiship Missiles (ASM) to the Philippines. China responded with anger and said that these weapons will limit its sovereignty in the South China Sea. The ASM sale is part of an ongoing US-India military cooperation agreement, which was signed by President Trump and Prime Minister Modi earlier this year.
India has sold antiship missiles to the Philippines as China’s military expansion in the South China Sea has caused concern. The BrahMos missile is a supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from land or sea, and travels at speeds of up to Mach 3.
Officials from both countries announced that India and the Philippines have agreed to provide the Philippines with the BrahMos antiship cruise missile system, in a pact that might assist offset recent Chinese aggression in the area.
The BrahMos, which is manufactured by an Indo-Russian joint company located in New Delhi, is being exported for the first time. In reaction to China’s expanding military might, India is strengthening defense relations with the US and its allies.
According to two Indian officials and Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, the Philippine government wrote to BrahMos Aerospace Private Ltd. on Dec. 31 to approve a proposal to acquire three batteries of the supersonic missile system for $375 million.
According to one of the Indian officials, each battery consists of two missile launchers, a radar, and a command-and-control center, and can fire two missiles in 10 seconds. A deal is likely to be finalized this month.
In a Facebook post on Friday, Mr. Lorenzana said that the missiles would be largely operated by the Philippine marines’ coastal defense battalion, and that the purchase included operator training and logistical assistance.
The missiles were built in part to oppose China, which challenges the Philippines’ claims to land features and fishing grounds in the South China Sea, according to retired Rear Adm. Rommel Ong, who served as the Philippine Navy’s second-in-command until 2019.
In April 2021, a Chinese coast guard ship went around the Whitsun Reef in the Philippines’ Spratly Islands.
Photo credit: Shutterstock/pcg/handout
In recent years, China has quickly increased its military capabilities and efforts to enforce its claims, including the construction of seven strongly defended manmade islands.
Disagreements have lately risen, such as when Philippine authorities accused Chinese coast guard ships of firing water cannons at Philippine resupply ships traveling to a disputed shoal in the South China Sea in mid-November.
“Our worry in terms of threat perception is the fast expansion of the PLA fleet,” said Mr. Ong, referring to China’s People’s Liberation Army. He said that the Philippines lacked the industrial ability to sustain its own big shipbuilding program. “We designed an asymmetric solution to the issue based on those principles, which means searching for a sea-denial capacity that doesn’t need a lot of resources.”
Mr. Ong said that the antiship missiles will be scattered throughout the Philippine archipelago from north to south in order to protect the west coast, which confronts the South China Sea.
A request for response from China’s foreign ministry went unanswered.
According to one Indian source, the Philippines is ordering the BrahMos shore-based model, which has a range of 290 kilometers (180 miles) and flies at Mach 2.8, almost three times the speed of sound. That’s enough to encompass portions of the disputed South China Sea territory claimed by Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Brunei.
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“It’s a great milestone for India’s military exports to go from being the world’s largest weapons importer to commencing the shipments of BrahMos,” the Indian official added. “BrahMos will improve the Philippines’ defensive capabilities while avoiding any imbalance in the South China Sea.”
Several nations in the Middle East, South America, South Africa, and Southeast Asia have shown interest in purchasing the BrahMos, according to the official.
The agreement with the Philippines had been in the works for over five years until it encountered a snag in 2020, when Manila claimed fiscal difficulties in the wake of the Covid-19 epidemic. However, in early 2021, the two nations struck an agreement allowing for government-to-government military equipment purchases.
India is one of the world’s largest weapons importers, and the sale will help Prime Minister Narendra Modi achieve his goal of increasing India’s aerospace and military exports to $5 billion per year by 2025, up from around $1 billion in 2020-21.
It also underscores India’s aggressive defense diplomacy approach in reaction to China’s growing naval presence in the Indo-Pacific and recent actions along the disputed Himalayan land boundary with India, where Chinese and Indian soldiers battled in 2020.
“The supplies will assist avert a naval imbalance of power in the Indo-Pacific and boost the deterrent capabilities of smaller nations confronting a gigantic China,” said Sreeram Chaulia, head of the School of International Affairs at O.P. Jindal Global University in Sonipat, India.
Mr. Chaulia said that China has been a key supplier of weaponry to Pakistan, India’s old foe. “When India arms the Philippines, Vietnam, or Indonesia with superior weapons, it sends a message to the rest of the region that the Sino-Pakistan nexus may have regional ramifications,” he added.
While many nations in the area cannot match China’s naval might, associate professor Richard Heydarian of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines believes the procurement demonstrates that they are looking for military systems that can discourage war. “Smaller nations may establish this total minimum deterrent via calibrated purchases of state-of-the-art and asymmetric weapons,” he added.
This was the biggest and most significant Indian arms sales to the Philippines, according to John Bradford, a senior fellow in the maritime security program at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, and could be part of an effort by the Philippine military to diversify beyond its major arms suppliers, which include the United States and South Korea.
“Not simply diversity, but there’s a certain element of shopping for excellent value,” he remarked.
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The “how many brahmos missiles russia have” is a headline that was released by The Indian Express. The article goes into detail about India’s sale of antiship missiles to the Philippines. This is because China has been increasing its military presence in the South China Sea, and this could be seen as a threat to the Philippines.
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