India defies missile-exporting China with cruise missile sale to Vietnam

by WorldTribune Staff, August 14, 2017

India’s sale to Vietnam of a short-range, supersonic anti-ship missile has opened a new conflict in an already tense situation with China, an analyst said.

Vietnam will receive the BrahMos which is considered one of the most effective and lethal anti-ship missiles in the world, with speeds reaching Mach 2.8 to 3.0.

The BrahMos is co-produced by India and Russia. / Reuters

“About half of China’s worldwide arms exports go to one country — Pakistan, for the primary reason of ‘containing India,’ ” said Hoover Institution Fellow and Geostrategy-Direct correspondent Maochun Miles Yu in a Facebook post.

“Now India is playing the same game by arming one of China’s arch enemies, Vietnam.”

Russia, which co-produces the BrahMos with India, is said to have given its nod of approval on the sale.

“The Chinese government has major objections about Vietnam getting these missiles for its navy,” said analyst Larkins Dsouza, founder of Defense Aviation.“China sees India selling BrahMos to Vietnam as an act of belligerence and interference in the South China Sea dispute.”

But, Dsouza added, “China seems to be overlooking the fact that it sells a great deal of weapons to Pakistan, a country that has been in a gridlock with India for decades. All indications now point to the fact that New Delhi has overcome its reservations and fears about annoying China.”

The BrahMos can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft or land. It was developed jointly by India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Russia’s NPO Mashinostroeyenia. Vietnam is said to be looking to use the missile in its Kilo-class submarines.

The missile is heavily based on the Russian P-800 Oniks cruise missile and other similar sea-skimming Russian cruise missile technology, Dsouza said.

A hypersonic version of the missile, the BrahMos-II, is also currently under development with speeds up to Mach 7. It could be ready for testing some time this year, Dsouza said.

Meanwhile, Japan and India “are set to strengthen security ties with the U.S., with the prospect of bolstering their trilateral security cooperation,” Dsouza said. “It is very significant for Japan, India and the U.S. to ensure the security of the vast Pacific and Indian Oceans. Japan has suggested that the three countries start organizing regular high-level meetings, and the Indian Defense Minister, Manohar Parrikar, will consider the proposal.”

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