Philippines would be the first country to purchase a missile system developed jointly by India and Russia to defend its maritime territory.
The Philippines has finalized an agreement to acquire a shore-based anti-ship missile system from India for nearly $ 375m to strengthen its fleet, the Southeast Asian country’s defense minister said.
The Philippines is in the late stages of a five-year P300 billion ($ 5.85 billion) project to modernize its military’s obsolete hardware, including World War II warships and US-led helicopters during the Vietnam War. has been used.
Manila’s army was one of the least equipped in Asia when President Rodrigo Duterte’s predecessor, Benigno Aquino, embarked on a modest modernization program in 2012 – but it still is. no match for its superpower neighbor China.
Under the agreement negotiated with the Government of India, BrahMos Aerospace Private Ltd will supply three batteries, train operators and maintainers, and provide logistical support, Defense Minister Delfin Lorenzana said in a Facebook post late Friday.
BrahMos – a joint venture between India and Russia – has developed a cruise missile which, according to the Indian Ministry of Defense, is the fastest in the world.
The Philippines would be the first country to buy it. India’s Ministry of Defense declined to comment.
The new anti-ship system is aimed at deterring foreign vessels from entering the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of 200 nautical miles (370 km). In recent years, the Philippines has repeatedly accused China of violating its EEZ by sending hundreds of civilian boats into its waters.
“This is part of our territorial defense,” said Colonel Ramon Zagala, spokesman for the Philippine Armed Forces.
In 2018, the Philippines purchased Israeli-manufactured Spike ER missiles, its first ship-borne missile systems for maritime deterrence.
Despite friendlier ties between China and the Philippines under Duterte, Beijing has remained steadfast in claiming large parts of the South China Sea, a channel for billions of dollars worth of goods.
Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also filed competitive claims.
However, a 2016 international arbitration award said the Chinese claims had no legal basis.
On Wednesday, a new report from the US State Department said that China’s activities in the South China Sea, including its “historic claims” to almost all parts of the major trade route “seriously undermines the rule of law ” in the oceans and universally recognized provisions in international law.