Much has been written about how China by arming Pakistan is trying to threaten India with a two-front war especially in the backdrop of the deadly clash at the Galwan Valley. As news trickled in of China selling its most advanced warship to Pakistan, India has decided to pay back China in the only language it understands. India is readying to export its supersonic BrahMos missiles to friendly countries which includes China’s neighbour Vietnam, much to the chagrin of China.
Last week, China exported its largest combat ship to Pakistan with Chinese state media claiming that the warship will double the combat power of the Pakistani Navy’s surface fleet. China is expected to sell 3 more such warships to Pakistan by the end of 2021. China is also preparing to sell its JF-17 Block 3 aircraft to Pakistan later this year.
While most of Chinese weaponry are cheap rip-offs of Russian weapons built through reverse-engineering, India and Russia have jointly developed supersonic BrahMos missiles. The one-of-a-kind missiles have generated a lot of interest from various countries mainly due to the fact that the short-range ramjet supersonic cruise missile can be launched from aircraft, land, submarines or ships.
It has been reported that BrahMos missiles appears in the list of military items readied by the Ministry of Defence which can be exported to other countries.
“After fulfilling the requirements of the Indian armed forces, BrahMos missile can be exported to third countries,” quoted sources speaking to Financial Times.
It is important to note that the issue of exporting the missiles to a third country has to be decided jointly by India and Russia. The development effectively means that Russia has given a go-ahead to export the supersonic missiles thus proving that Russia-China ties are not as close as it seems with Russia increasingly favouring India over China.
Several South American countries have shown a keen interest in purchasing the BrahMos missiles. Talks with Vietnam and Indonesia are at an advanced stage with the Philippines and the UAE also registering their interest.
“There are discussions going on a range of weapons systems between India and the Phillipines. Once travel becomes possible, the joint committee that looks at defence logistics will meet discuss these things,” said India’s ambassador to the Philippines Jaideep Majumdar earlier in May. Both the countries have had price negotiations over the sale of the missiles. India has even offered a $100 million line of credit to the Philippines for defence purchase.
The commonality between the Philippines and Vietnam is the fact that both the countries are engaged in tense face-off with China at the South China Sea and the BrahMos missiles which can be launched from ships, will give the countries an edge against China and its expansionist activities.
Vietnam is responding to China’s bullying tactics in equal measure with Vietnam’s ambassador to India Pham Sanh Chau sought help from the Indian counterparts about the deteriorating security situation in the South China Sea. China being true to its characteristics is violating Vietnam’s sovereignty in the South China Sea by conduction military exercises over the Parcel Islands.
To counter the growing Chinese influence in the region, Vietnam has even requested India to explore oil and gas blocks off its coast in the South China Sea and thus assume a greater role in the region.
While China has been strengthening India’s neighbour and enemy Pakistan, it seems that India is now going to do the same as it plans to strengthen China’s neighbours and rivals in the region.