India signs pact with Philippines for supply of BrahMos missile
India and the Philippines have signed a key agreement to facilitate government-to-government deals on military hardware, including the potential supply of BrahMos cruise missiles.
The signing of the “implementing arrangement” for procuring of defence materials and equipment was announced by the department of national defense of the Philippines on its Facebook page.
The pact was signed by under-secretary Raymundo Elefante of the Philippines’ department of national defense and Indian ambassador Shambu Kumaran at Camp Aguinaldo, headquarters of the Filipino armed forces, on Tuesday.
Filipino defence secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who witnessed the signing ceremony, was quoted by The Straits Times as saying: “We are buying the BrahMos missiles.” He didn’t provide details of the procurement plans.
Lorenzana said the agreement would serve as a guide for India and the Philippines on “policies and procedures in the defence procurement”. It will also act as a “legal framework for the procurement under the government-to-government modality”, he said.
There was no official word from the Indian side on the development.
Hindustan Times had first reported last November that India and the Philippines are looking to sign an agreement on the BrahMos cruise missile this year, making the Southeast Asian country the first customer for the weapons system developed jointly by New Delhi and Moscow.
At the time, the two sides were working to sort out a few remaining issues for the deal to supply the missiles to the Philippines Army’s first Land Based Missile System Battery, people familiar with developments had said on condition of anonymity.
The actual agreement on the missiles is expected to be inked during a meeting of leaders of the two countries this year.
Russian officials have also said India and Russia are working to gradually increase the range of the BrahMos and begin exporting the missile to third countries, starting with the Philippines.
The Philippines Army zeroed in on the BrahMos after extensive trials and much of the negotiations have revolved around the cost of the system and financing for the deal. India has offered a $100-million line of credit to the Philippines for defence purchases.
India has also been in talks with several Southeast Asian countries, including Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam, over the past few years to sell them land and sea-based versions of the BrahMos.
The draft defence production policy of 2018 set an ambitious target of achieving defence exports worth $5 billion by 2025.