The Philippines would be the first country to buy a missile system jointly developed by India and Russia to defend its maritime territory.
The Philippines has finalized a deal to acquire a land-based anti-ship missile system from India for nearly $375 million to bolster its navy, the South Asian nation’s defense minister said. South East.
The Philippines is in the final stages of a five-year, 300 billion peso ($5.85 billion) project to modernize its military’s outdated hardware, which includes World War II warships and helicopters used by the United States during the Vietnam War.
Manila’s military was one of the worst equipped in Asia when President Rodrigo Duterte’s predecessor, Benigno Aquino, launched a modest modernization program in 2012 – but it still falls short of its superpower neighbour, China.
Under the deal brokered with the Indian government, BrahMos Aerospace Private Ltd will supply three batteries, train operators and maintainers and provide logistical support, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a Facebook post on Friday.
BrahMos – a joint venture between India and Russia – has developed a cruise missile that the Indian Ministry of Defense says is the fastest in the world.
The Philippines would be the first country to buy it. The Indian Ministry of Defense declined to comment.
The new anti-ship system aims to deter foreign vessels from encroaching on the country’s 200 nautical mile (370 km) Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). In recent years, the Philippines has repeatedly accused China of violating its EEZ by sending hundreds of militia boats into its waters.
“It’s part of our territorial defense,” said Colonel Ramon Zagala, spokesman for the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
In 2018, the Philippines purchased Israeli-made Spike ER missiles, its first-ever shipborne missile systems for maritime deterrence.
Despite friendlier ties between China and the Philippines under Duterte, Beijing has remained adamant in claiming large parts of the South China Sea, a conduit for billions of dollars worth of goods.
Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have also filed competing claims.
A 2016 international arbitration award, however, said China’s claims had no legal basis.
A new report from the US State Department on Wednesday said China’s activities in the South China Sea, including its ‘historic claims’ to nearly all parts of the vital trade route, ‘seriously undermine the rule of law’. in the oceans and universally recognized provisions in international law.