India-Philippines Brahmos Deal – UPSC GS2

  • India-Philippines has signed a deal under which India will supply Brahmos missiles.
Relevance of Deal for India
  • It would boost the export potential of India.
  • It would help in attaining the target of $5 billion in defence exports by 2025. More orders are expected to come from countries like Vietnam, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, Argentina, etc.
  • It would elevate India’s stature as a responsible regional superpower.
  • This would also boost India’s economic, soft, and hard power profile in the Indo-Pacific region.
Relevance of Deal for Philippines
  • It would be helpful in protecting geopolitical and strategic interests, especially in the South China Sea. The sea has been a zone of frequent conflict between China and the Philippines.
  • The deal would make the Philippines the first country to buy BrahMos. Thereby it will strengthen bilateral relations in the defence sphere.
Geopolitical relevance:
  • It would act as a deterrent to China’s aggressive stance in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Further, other vulnerable countries of the region would come forward and induct Brahmos into their defence arsenal. This would protect their sovereignty and territory in the region.
Challenges in exporting Brahmos:
  • It may attract sanctions from the US under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
  • The act aims to sanction individuals and entities who engage in a “significant transaction” with a listed entity under CAATSA.
  • Russia’s NPO Mashinostroyenia is one of the listed Russian entities, which is a co-manufacturer of Brahmos. That is why a threat of sanctions looms over the Philippines and other countries. Further, the US has maintained ambiguity over the Brahmos deal.
  • Turkey and China have been penalized under CAATSA for purchasing the S-400 Triumf air defense systems from Russia.
  • The cost of the Brahmos package comes around 2000 crores. This huge cost has discouraged purchase orders from many willing countries especially post the pandemic era.
  • India has offered a $100 million line of credit to the Philippines that has enabled it to purchase Brahmos with minimum components.
Way Ahead:
  • India should engage in proactive talks with the US in order to obtain a waiver for the Brahmos deal. This seems possible as the deal would help contain China in the Indo-Pacific.
  • India should offer a rational line of credit to potential buyers to give them flexibility in buying the missile.

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