HomeIndian Defencebrahmos: Can homemade BrahMos propel India to become Asia's top defence supplier?

brahmos: Can homemade BrahMos propel India to become Asia’s top defence supplier?

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India has taken a significant step towards bolstering its defence exports and achieving self-reliance in defence manufacturing with the delivery of BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles to the Philippines. This move reflects India’s commitment to the ‘Make-in-India’ initiative and its aspirations to become a key defence supplier in Asia.
The BrahMos Deal and Strategic Significance
The delivery of the BrahMos missiles to the Philippines underlines the deepening military ties between India and Manila amid growing concerns over China’s assertiveness in the region. The $375 million deal, signed in January 2022, includes the supply of three batteries of the missiles, launchers, and related equipment. This marks a significant milestone as it is the first export of the BrahMos missile by India.The BrahMos missile, priced under $5 million each, has garnered significant interest from both Indian and foreign buyers due to its exceptional performance. India considers BrahMos a strategic game-changer, evident in its deployment plans at the Minicoy military base to monitor Chinese activities in the Indian Ocean.

Indigenous Manufacturing and Technological Advancements
With over 76% of the BrahMos missile now indigenously manufactured, India aims to increase this to 85% by incorporating Indian seekers and boosters, reaching 100% indigenization by 2026. The Research and Development (R&D) for BrahMos is entirely conducted in India, showcasing the country’s growing technological prowess in the defence sector.

In an exclusive interview with TOI last year, Philippines foreign secretary Enrique Manalo highlighted the strategic importance of India-Philippines cooperation, stating, “India and the Philippines are natural partners in the sense that both subscribe to the idea of a free and open Indo-Pacific, a region which is open to diversity… and a commitment to democratic ideals aimed at promoting prosperity of the people in the region through, mainly economic cooperation.”
BrahMos Missile: A Technological Marvel
BrahMos Aerospace Pvt Ltd, a joint venture between India’s DRDO and Russia’s NPOM, produces the world’s fastest supersonic cruise missile. With a speed of 2.8 Mach, the BrahMos missile is capable of being launched from submarines, ships, aircraft, or land platforms. India’s successful testing and integration of the BrahMos missile system into its military have strengthened its defence capabilities.

The BrahMos missile’s versatility is evident in its ability to be launched from land, sea (including submarines), and air platforms. This comprehensive array of variants, along with its unmatched speed, accuracy, and destructive power, has attracted interest from over 12 countries for potential exports. Director General of BrahMos, Atul Rane, predicts that India could export $3 billion worth of BrahMos missiles by 2026, further boosting India’s defence export potential.

India’s Defence Export Potential
Apart from the BrahMos missile, India is also exploring opportunities to export its home-grown Tejas fighter jets. Talks are underway with several countries, including Argentina, the Philippines, and Nigeria, for the sale of these indigenous aircraft. This aligns with India’s vision to enhance its defence export potential and reduce its reliance on foreign-made weapons.

India’s partnership with Russia in the BrahMos joint venture is of great strategic importance, with Russia valuing its economic and military relationship with India. Both countries have jointly decided to allow the export of BrahMos missiles to friendly nations, ensuring that the weapon system remains free from Chinese interference. This collaborative approach has enhanced BrahMos’ acceptance and demand in the international market.

Collaborative Opportunities
India’s collaboration with the US and Russia on hypersonic technology highlights its commitment to advancing its defence capabilities. With ongoing developments in various armaments, India is poised to emerge as the largest exporter of armaments in Asia, meeting both domestic and international demands.

Future Prospects and Challenges
India’s defence exports have shown promising growth, with the sector expected to reach Rs 50,000 crore in the next four years. However, challenges remain, including the need to expedite ‘Make in India’ projects and attract more foreign direct investment (FDI) in defence production. Addressing these challenges will be crucial for India to achieve its goal of becoming a key defence supplier in Asia.

The BrahMos missile’s success story exemplifies India’s strides in defence manufacturing and its growing stature as a defence exporter. With technological advancements and strategic alliances, India is poised to emerge as a key player in the global defence market. As India continues to enhance its defence capabilities, the BrahMos missile stands as a symbol of India’s quest for self-reliance and strategic autonomy in the defence sector.

(With inputs from TOI, Agencies)

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