In the Indo-Pacific also, Russia and India could use BrahMos to hurt China. In fact, Southeast Asian nations seem to be interested in the Indo-Russian supersonic cruise missile.
While wannabe geopolitical experts around the world keep talking about a Sino-Russian axis, Moscow has found a powerful tool to hurt Beijing. We are talking about the BrahMos, world’s fastest supersonic cruise missile, developed jointly by India and Russia. And it seems that the Kremlin could start by selling BrahMos in Southeast Asia and South America.
Till now, Russia was facing issues in selling its weapons. The threat of American sanctions kept looming on the most popular of Russian arms like the S-400 Triumf. Russia wasn’t able to sell its arms to the democratic world. China kept buying Russian weapons and copying their designs. In fact, China was threatening Russian security and even eating into Moscow’s exclusive sphere of influence. But BrahMos, an Indo-Russian project, gives Putin a ‘sanctions proof’ option to arm China’s enemies.
Russia seems to be already exploring options to sell the BrahMos. Financial Express Online has reported that the Brazilian government has expressed interest in the BrahMos-NG (New Generation) of the supersonic cruise missile.
Any BrahMos export will make India and Russia joint stakeholders in the transaction. As per Financial Express Online, a top official of Russia’s Federal Service of Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) said that “it (BrahMos) is a `precious gem’ in the defence cooperation between India and Russia. And can be exported to other countries after all the intergovernmental procedures have been cleared.”
By granting clearances for a BrahMos sale to Brazil, the Kremlin will have the option of sending a loud and clear message- Moscow has no qualms in emboldening China’s enemies.
Brazil, the biggest power in Latin America, might seem geographically distant from China. But then Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro does show deep ideological animosity against China. Moreover, Beijing’s expansionist tentacles have actually spread out to South America as well. Earlier this year, it was reported that the CCP unleashed a huge fishing fleet, a Chinese militia to be precise, some 160 miles away from the Galapagos Islands, an archipelago in Ecuador.
So, Latin America isn’t really free from Chinese belligerence. Brazil and other Latin American countries do face a security threat from the paper dragon. As per Financial Express Online, other Latin American nations like Chile, Argentina and Venezuela are also interested in BrahMos. Moscow is therefore helping South Asia battle the Chinese threat.
In the Indo-Pacific also, Russia and India could use BrahMos to hurt China. In fact, Southeast Asian nations seem to be interested in the Indo-Russian supersonic cruise missile. Recently, it was reported by Financial Express Online that the Philippines could be the first country to get the BrahMos missile.
Other Southeast Asian nations like Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam are also said to have expressed keen interest in the Indo-Russian missile project. If India and Russia actually decide to sell BrahMos to Southeast Asia, then it could tip the balance in favour of Southeast Asia amidst the ongoing tensions between the paper dragon and ASEAN in the South China Sea.
BrahMos is thus allowing Russia to explore new options. By shifting its defence exports towards China’s enemies, the Kremlin can reduce its dependence on China in the arms exports sector. China is known to buy Russian arms and then use them for fuelling its massive ‘reverse engineering’ industry. However, by selling BrahMos to other countries, Russia can explore the option of shifting its defence exports away from China.
Also, China stakes claim over the Russian Far East. The paper dragon challenges Russia’s security, but now Putin is making it clear that it will continue arming China’s enemies, if Chinese belligerence is directed against Moscow. BrahMos can thus be Russia’s most pragmatic and magnanimous option to tackle a belligerent China.