Business & Defence

Tension Between US-Russia is Affecting India’s BrahMos Deal With The Philippines

BrahMos is a portmanteau of the names of two rivers in India: the Brahmaputra and the Russian Moskva. Delfin N. Lorenzana, the Philippines’ Defense Secretary, and Atul Dinkar Rane, the Director General of BrahMos Aerospace, signed the agreement.

However, within three months, there appears to be considerable scepticism, which could derail the agreement, since Manila has questioned the missile’s legitimacy.

The incident on March 9, 2022, when a technical fault during normal maintenance resulted in the inadvertent discharge of a missile, which landed near Mian Channu in Pakistan’s Khanewal area, could bring the project to a halt.

This resulted in a squabble, with Pakistan claiming that it was sent on purpose to provoke them into a conflict. India disputed the allegations and launched a high-level investigation. The incident was caused by a malfunction, according to the investigation.

The Indian government expressed its great regret over the tragedy, calling it “a matter of relief that no lives were lost as a result of the disaster.”

Pakistan subsequently issued seven questions to India, as reported by EurAsian Times on March 12, in which it demanded thorough answers as to why the incident occurred.

But, as reported in the media, Philippines Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, one of the country’s most senior ministers, called Indian envoy Shambhu S Kumaran over the issue on April 6.

India in a Spot

India dispatched a delegate to the Philippines, who assured us that there had been no technical difficulties. Envoy Kumaran also attempted to downplay the fact that the Philippine government did not express “alarm,” but rather asked a question.

The event was blamed on more than one official from the missile unit, for which the IAF promised “rapid and serious punishment.”

The Philippines is concerned about the event since it is involved in a war with China in the South China Sea and the Asia-Pacific. Manila is looking for a foolproof guarantee of the BrahMos’s likely usage, while the two potential buyers, Indonesia and Malaysia, must be keeping an eye on the situation.

If the Philippines, a close US ally, cancels the BrahMos agreement, it will offer the US a boost over Russia while also appeasing Pakistan’s new pro-US leadership in Islamabad. As a result, the likely noises from Islamabad will go away. But, at the heart of it all, the key question is whether India will be able to seal the deal. Especially when the US wants it revoked!

Is US Trying To Hurt Russia?

There are a lot of unknowns till BrahMos arrives in Manila, especially as US President Joseph Biden has sent a strong warning to India over Russian imports, according to Reuters on April 10, while Defense Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar are in the US.

Will India succumb to US pressure and start openly abstaining from Russia, despite the fact that the US is its ally? Only time will tell, especially since Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited India recently.

If the pact falls apart, it will only benefit the United States. The more pressing concern is if there was any deliberate attempt to fire the missile into Pakistan. Will it be rolled over by any head? Will the truth be revealed? The most likely response is probably no.

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