The Philippine Army is interested in acquiring the Indian-manufactured BrahMos missile, regarded as the world’s fastest supersonic missile.
Major General Reynaldo Aquino, the Vice Commander of the Philippine Army, revealed this over the weekend while undertaking a tour of the visiting Indian Navy Ship (INS) Sahyadri docked in the country's capital Manila.
Philippine Army spokesperson Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala has confirmed that Major General Reynaldo Aquino and INS Sahyadri Commanding Officer Captain Ashwin Arvind discussed the possible acquisition of the BrahMos missile, which can be launched from a ship, a plane, submarine, or on land.
According to BrahMos Aerospace Limited, the joint venture between India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Russia’s Federal State Unitary Enterprise NPO Mashinostroyenia, the acquisition of the BrahMos missile by the Philippine Army would complement its First Land-Based Missile System Battery (1LBMS).
Once acquired, the BrahMos missile can be expected to augment the firepower of troops especially in a large-scale armed confrontation. It could also be used for internal defence and allied security engagements.
Last year, during a visit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the Philippines, New Delhi and Manila signed four agreements, including one to step up bilateral cooperation in the defence and logistics sector.
During the delegation-level talks with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, the latter expressed his country’s interest in acquiring fast offshore patrol vessels to boost coastal seceurity.
With India placing greater emphasis on its “Act East Policy” since 2014, the bilateral relationship with the Philippines has diversified to include security, defence, trade and industry, people-to-people contacts, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, tourism, etc.
The annual Association of South East Asian Nations/East Asia Summits has also provided an excellent platform for regular meetings between the leaders of both countries.
India-Philippines trade in the 2018-19 fiscal year was around $2.32 billion ($174.3 million in exports from India and $581 million in imports from the Philippines).