As India showcases its formidable military might at the Rajpath on Republic Day, a few weapon systems including Akash surface to air missile (SAM) and BrahMos would be in the highlight seeing the recent successful trials. Both the missiles are export-ready and most of representatives of Asean, who would witness the Republic Day parade this time, have at various meetings sought their imports. When the 10 Asean leaders meet for the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit in New Delhi on Thursday, sources told FE: “Exports of Akash and BrahMos missiles will be topping the agenda.” As part of India’s ‘Act East Policy’, India has increased its engagement with the Asean countries in the fields of maritime security, military exercises as well as trade and investments. Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman during her recent visit to the NCC Republic Day Camp had said, “The prime minister’s intention that the Look East policy should now be an Act East policy is really taking shape… And by the very presence of 10 leaders from the Asean bloc during the Republic Day celebrations, India is definitely showcasing its Act East policy. And we are happy that the event is going to happen with all of them present.”
Speaking to FE on conditions of anonymity, sources have said that “there have been queries from various friendly countries including some from Asean bloc, South America, particularly for their naval and coastal defence versions. However, due to the lack of clarity in the defence exports policy there have been no further discussions between the buyer and the seller.” “Since Russia is the partner country in the BrahMos joint venture, with its consent discussions with several countries including Philippines, South Korea, Algeria, Greece, Malaysia, Thailand, Egypt, Singapore, Venezuela and Bulgaria have now been taken to the next level,” a source in the defence ministry said. “After Prime Minister Modi’s speech in Davos declaring red carpet welcome to those interested in doing business in India, this would be an example to set if the government can at least get some export orders of weapons which are deemed one of the best in the World,” explained the source.
BrahMos systems which is considered as an example of a successful joint venture of made in India, have already proven their might in numerous launches from land and sea. And the latest test firing from SU-30 MKI in November 2017 has made it a system which is desired by many countries. BrahMos is a supersonic cruise missile that is surface-launched, submarine-launched and air-launched, developed by DRDO and Russian NPO Mashinostroyenia (NPOM). The agreement for development of the advanced BrahMos system between India and Russia allows the use of the missile in both countries’ armed forces as well as for exports to other friendly countries. In the case of Vietnam, China has expressed its reservations against India’s policies to supply weapons. In the South China Sea, China and Vietnam are locked in a conflict over the maritime boundaries. India and China have boundary differences too.