NEW DELHI: With an eye on countering China’s growing military assertiveness in the region, India is all set to sell supersonic BrahMos missile to Vietnam.
The possible sale of Brahmos to the Southeast Asian country figured in the bilateral talks between Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and his Vietnamese counterpart General Ngo Xuan Lich earlier this week.
Selling the supersonic BrahMos missile, made through a an Indo-Russian joint venture, would mark a shift for the world’s biggest arms importer, as India seeks to send weapons the other way in order to shore up partners’ defences and boost revenues.
According to sources, Hanoi had expressed interest in acquiring Indian-made BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, a deal for which India is open to. Though Vietnam along with some other countries were eyeing to import 290 km-range BrahMos weapon system, New Delhi was reluctant to sell it fearing it would tick off China.
Moreover, Russia, being the partner of the joint production of the missile, was also opposed to the idea of selling the supersonic missile.
Sources claimed that Narendra Modi government has ordered BrahMos Aerospace, which produces the missiles, to accelerate sales to a list of five countries Incuding Vietnam, Indonesia, South Africa, Chile and Brazil. It was also believed that Philippines is at the top of a second list of 11 nations, including Malaysia, Thailand and United Arab Emirates, which had “expressed their interest, but need further discussions and analysis” to buy BrahMos.