While the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile was developed jointly by India and Russia, the sale of the systems to the Philippines is a bilateral transaction, and we will be able to move forward on a “bilateral basis,” according to Indian Ambassador to the Philippines Shambhu Kumaran, amid global developments following Russia’s war in Ukraine. The Philippines was also given explanation on the latest BrahMos missile launch that was accidentally launched.
“I spoke with Philippines Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, and our Ministry of Defense clarified… There was a question, and we responded that, as far as we could tell, there was no technical problem. Mr. Kumaran remarked in a webinar on ‘The Philippines: India’s New Indo-Pacific Partner,’ organised by the Ananta Centre, “There is an inquiry underway, and we will have that clarified once the material is ready.” Because India uses the system extensively, there is obviously a level of trust in the system, he noted.
The Envoy stated that the Philippines’ choice to purchase it was a high-level political decision that was enabled by a number of variables, but was primarily driven by the two countries’ political understanding.
He went on to say that the first agreement was only signed in March of last year, the second agreement in November, and the transaction was only inked in January of this year. “There is definitely, in terms of the Philippines self-defense national security requirements, a clear requirement on the part of their armed force of this capability,” Mr. Kumaran said, adding, “There is definitely, in terms of the Philippines self-defense national security requirements, a clear requirement on the part of their armed force of this capability.”
In response to a query about whether China may object to the sale, the Envoy cited the Philippines’ assertion that it sees it as a self-defense platform, and said he doesn’t see “how this can be a worry in other capitals.”
The incident in which a supersonic missile travelling at three times the speed of sound was “accidently fired” on March 09 and ended up 124 kilometres inside Pakistan is being investigated by a Court of Inquiry led by an Indian Air Force two-star commander. Based on preliminary results, defence authorities have stated that it does not appear to be a technological issue, but rather a case of human mistake, which the Inquiry will shed light on.
Mr. Kumaran said talks are underway for systems relating to aerospace and the Navy, in response to the Philippines’ interest in purchasing additional defence equipment from India.
He acknowledged that Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has volunteered to give a technical briefing on the Tejas, an indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), and that Manila has expressed “some interest.” In addition to Tejas, rotary platforms are being discussed.
“There is a lot of interest in Indian equipment in Southeast Asia and the Middle East,” he added, adding that turning that desire into a contract is difficult. He noted that the recent impetus in relations with the Philippines has pushed them to the forefront of our Act East agenda.
Mr. Kumaran emphasised Information Technology and pharmaceuticals as significant areas in the broader commerce. Indian IT firms have established offices in the Southeast Asian nation, employing a huge number of locals.
He stated that the Philippine government would like to “see some local production capability” in medicines and that Indian businesses have established bases, but that enabling conditions must be created locally before they can be implemented.