MANILA – India has assured the Philippines of the timely delivery of the BrahMos cruise missile platforms which the country has acquired for its Shore-Based Anti-Ship Missile (SBASM) system.
The assurance was made during the courtesy call of India Ambassador to the Philippines, Shambhu Santha Kumaran, to Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. last Aug. 17.
"Ambassador Kumaran also reassured the timely delivery of the Shore-Based Anti-Ship SBASM, which is being procured by the Philippines from BrahMos Aerospace Pvt Ltd under the Horizon 2 of the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Program," DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said in a statement Tuesday night.
The BrahMos cruise missile can be launched from a ship, aircraft, submarine or land, and has a top speed of around Mach 2.8 (around 3,400 km. per hour), and is capable of carrying warheads weighing 200 to 300 kilograms.
Former DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and BrahMos Aerospace director general Atul Dinkar Rane signed the contract worth PHP18.9 billion in a virtual ceremony at the DND headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City in January 2022.
Three batteries of the BrahMos cruise missiles will be acquired by the country under this contract.
Lorenzana earlier said the BrahMos cruise missiles will greatly beef up the Philippine Navy's firepower, particularly the Marines' Coastal Defense Regiment, and provide counter-attack capabilities within the Philippine exclusive economic zone.
"As the world's fastest supersonic cruise missiles, the BrahMos missiles will provide deterrence against any attempt to undermine our sovereignty and sovereign rights, especially in the West Philippine Sea," he added.
Both officials also agreed to elevate the level of their dialogue mechanisms in view of increasing and deepening defense and military engagements.
Andolong said the DND chief reiterated the invitation to meet with India's Minister of Defence, which may also be conducted through virtual means.
"Ambassador Kumaran encouraged strengthening cooperation on counter-terrorism, cyber security, maritime security, and other specialized training programs that could enhance capabilities of their military establishments in addressing common defense and security challenges," he said.
The DND chief also highlighted the importance of deepening collaboration among defense industries of India and the Philippines as the country is currently developing a credible defense posture.
"Ambassador Kumaran welcomed the initiative and further conveyed India's willingness to support, through line of funding or credits, the development of the Philippine's defense infrastructure, including extensive maintenance support for various projects and transfer of technology," Andolong said.
In their meeting, Teodoro and Kumaran reaffirmed their commitment to upholding a rules-based international order and strengthening relations with like-minded countries in the region.
"Ambassador Kumaran conveyed that India recognizes the Philippines' emerging role in shaping the regional security architecture in the Indo-Pacific. The Ambassador further conveyed India's support for ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) centrality and all ASEAN platforms, particularly the ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting (ADMM) and ADMM-Plus," Andolong said. (PNA)