India-based defense company BrahMos Aerospace expects to close a deal this year to sell Indonesia supersonic cruise missiles worth at least $200 million. The company’s CEO Atul D Rane expressed his optimism that the company wants to expand its presence in Southeast Asia. BrahMos Aerospace is a joint venture between India and Russia.
It has been reported that, Rane said talks with Indonesia for a $200-350 million deal are at an advanced stage. Under this, the missile that can be launched from the shore and its version to be deployed on the warship will be supplied. He also declared that a team of the company is in Jakarta for talks. It is being claimed that the Indonesian Armed Forces have shown particular interest in the deal.
However, a spokesperson for Indonesian Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto has refused to give an immediate comment and said he needed to first check the information.
The firm clinched its first foreign deal last year with a $375 million sale of shore-based anti-ship missiles to the Philippines – part of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious push to triple defense exports. The Philippines itself said the 2022 deal was just an ice-breaker. They are looking for more systems.
Although BrahMos missiles still depend on Russian parts and raw material, the percentage of local input had gone up to over 70 per cent from around 15 per cent at the start of the venture. This is just the beginning of India’s defense sector spreading its wings in the region.
Making Inroads in Southeast Asia
It is imperative to mention China in this discussion. Its increasingly dominant presence in the South China Sea and surrounding areas has created an atmosphere of suspicion. The Southeast Asian countries are on the edge and concerned about China’s aggressive expansionist policies and ambitions. There is a constant anxiety within them. Thus, they are ramping up their defense diversification.
Their spending on the procurement of weapons and other military equipment has increased. Indonesia’s investment in the acquisition of new weapons grew by nearly 28 per cent in 2021 and 69 per cent in 2022, while the Philippines saw a rise of 29% in 2021 and 40 per cent in 2022.
Southeast Asia has depended upon the traditional players like the US, France and Russia. However, India has emerged as an alternate pillar and created curiosity amongst the Southeast Asian countries. Thus, paving way for BrahMos to build a place for itself.
The Western led- sanction on Russia had not hindered the production of the defense firm. In fact, it has also been informed that BrahMos is also aiming to land a follow-on order of around $300 million with the Philippines, where its missiles are scheduled to be delivered to the Philippine Marine Corps starting at the end of 2023.
India through BrahMos is channelising its potential to become an indispensable player in the defense manufacturing and supply chains. India is creating a strategic asset in various countries through strengthening defense cooperation and production. This is a long term move and a foundation of a leverage which would cushion the blow of unprecedented future defense games.