Philippine Navy personnel complete operator training of India’s BrahMos missile.
Indian Navy chief Admiral R Hari Kumar awarded 21 Philippine Navy personnel their interim missile badges and pins during a valedictory ceremony for the operator training for BrahMos cruise missile as the two countries took the next step towards fulfilment of a deal signed last year. The ceremony was held after days of training that focused on the operations and maintenance of some of the most important logistics of the Shore-Based Anti-Ship Missile System that will be delivered to the Philippines this year.
In January 2022, India’s BrahMos Aerospace and the Philippines signed a deal worth almost $375 million for the Philippine Marines to acquire three batteries of the BrahMos cruise missile. The deal was seen as not only a shot in the arm for New Delhi’s efforts to emerge as an exporter of major defence hardware but also that could help counterbalance Chinese assertiveness over disputes in the region.
The Philippine Marines intend to use the BrahMos as a shore-based anti-ship missile, and the South China Sea is one of the potential areas for deploying the system.
The operator training is a critical package included in the BhahMos deal.
Addressing the ceremony, Admiral Hari Kumar said that the induction of the BrashMos missile into the Philippine Marine Corps will strengthen the country’s maritime capability and will contribute to the collective maritime security within the region.
“I sincerely hope that you will always cherish the bonds of friendship you had during your stay here” the Navy chief added as he congratulated the Officers who finished the practical series of the training successfully.
Col Romulo D. Quemado, Commander of the Coastal Defense Regiment (Provisional), lauded the team for the successful accomplishment of the training and expressed his optimism on the future of the regiment with the trained personnel. He also emphasized the value of retaining the knowledge that they gained during the training to honour the investment made by the Filipino people.
Hindustan Times first reported in December 2019 that the Philippines was set to become the first country to buy the BrahMos missile. Both sides were keen on signing the deal during a proposed visit by President Rodrigo Duterte early in 2021, but the plan fell through because of widespread disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.