Prime News, International (New Delhi), August 19:- For the first time ever, the government of Vietnam on Friday confirmed – albeit carefully – that it has acquired BrahMos anti-ship cruise missiles from India. At a time when Delhi and China are locked in their worst military confrontation in decades, sources in the Defence Ministry denied selling the missile systems to Vietnam, though they did not want to comment on record.
The acquisition of the BrahMos will be seen by China as a defiant move by Vietnam to protect its claim to the disputed South China Sea, which Beijing claims entirely as its own.
Vietnamese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang, when asked a specific question on the acquisition of the BrahMos said earlier today, “The procurement of defence equipment by Vietnam is consistent with the policy of peace and self-defence and is the normal practice in national defence.” She added that the Vietnam-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership which includes co-operation in defence has “been making a practical contribution to peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region.”
India’s BrahMos missiles are considered one of the most advanced missiles of its type.
The Vietnamese government statement was widely interpreted by local media as confirmation that the BrahMos missile deal, discussed for years, has climaxed. Senior Vietnamese journalists indicated to NDTV that the first batch of missiles may have arrived a few days ago.
Co-developed by a Russian manufacturer and India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation, the BrahMos can accelerate to speeds of 2.8 times the speed of sound to strike enemy ships 300 km away. In the final phase of its flight, the missile undertakes a series of extreme manoeuvres to avoid interception by surface-to-air missiles which may be fired to prevent it from hitting its target. The Indian Army has also acquired a land-attack variant of the missile featuring a dive attack capability to enable the BrahMos to strike targets in mountainous areas with pinpoint accuracy. (MR, Inputs: Agencies).