Tensions between China, India and Vietnam just took an interesting turn.
The Asian Age today reports that India has entered negotiations with Vietnam to sell its first BrahMos cruise missiles to an outside country.
Although more than a dozen nations have expressed interest in purchasing the missiles since their development in 2006, this is the first time the stealth missile will actually cross into neighboring hands.
Capable of being launched from submarines, aircraft, or land, the missiles are the fastest supersonic missiles in the world.
The potential sale comes after an Indian ship was halted by the Chinese after leaving port, and following China’s recent admonition that India best stay away from exploring the South China Sea.
The BrahMos missiles are the result of a joint venture between Russia and India, and will be of immense value in boosting Vietnam’s defense preparedness.
In a move that further shows the importance of pursuing strategic ties between India and Vietnam in the face of China’s assertiveness, Indian defese secretary Shashi Kant Sharma has also begun an official Vietnam visit.
Sharma is expected to finalize an offer allowing Vietnam access to India’s naval facilities for military training.
Reports on Asian Age:
India to sell BrahMos missile to Vietnam
The BrahMos Aerospace —the Indo-Russian joint venture that has developed the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile — is keen to sell the missile to Vietnam with which India is developing a strong strategic relationship, sources have confirmed.
However, the Indian government’s approval will have to be taken for any such acquisition. Sources also confirmed that Vietnam is already on a list of about 15 “friendly countries” — that was decided by a joint Indo-Russian supervisory council — to whom the BrahMos missile can be sold.
“Informal talks are on but no concrete proposal has been made as yet,” a source who did not want to be identified, told this newspaper. “Any acquisition of the BrahMos missile will be of immense value to Vietnam and will boost its defence preparedness,” sources said.
So far, the BrahMos missile has not been sold to any third country although a few have already evinced interest in acquiring it.
In a move that signalled the importance of strategic ties between India and Vietnam in the wake of increased Chinese military assertion in Asia, defence secretary Shashi Kant Sharma had also recently begun an official visit to Vietnam. India is set to offer naval facilities for training and capacitybuilding to Vietnam.