NEW DELHI: The Indian government is all set to discuss with Vietnam, the sale of BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles during the upcoming tour of Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar’s visit to Vietnam.
The 290-KM range BrahMos missiles were jointly developed by India and Russia. If the outcome of the discussion between Vietnam and India’s defense minister is positive, India may consider exporting the missiles to Vietnam after getting a nod from its Russian counterpart – also an architect of the missile program.
However, the above move may irk China and its desire to hold the majority of the South China sea. Vietnam’s interest to purchase missiles from India may also be seen as a message to China from Vietnam over safeguarding its integrity from outerside pressures. Nations surrounding South China sea such as Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam were in a continuous tug of war with the dragon nation, which claims majority of the South China sea.
The dispute of the South China Sea took global attention with the entry of India into the South China Sea on the invitation of Vietnam to explore oil resources, in the extents of the sea claimed by Vietnam. China strongly condemned the move reiterating that it has the Lion’s share of the water body. The dispute took another dimension with America voicing that China must respect international rules to allow freedom of navigation and right to passage in the international waters.
Singapore too has similar concerns over international waters in the South China Sea. Speaking at the ongoing Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, defense minister Manohar Parrikar said “Singapore will act as fulcrum for India’s “Act East” policy. We look further to solve the issue of international waters through constructive dialogue with all the nations concerned”.