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Philippines to fork out $375 million for Indian missile system

FILE PHOTO: Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana answer questions during a Reuters interview at the military headquarters of Camp Aquinaldo in Quezon city, metro Manila, Philippines February 9, 2017. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

The Philippines has agreed to buy a shore-based anti-ship missile system from India for over $375 million in order to strengthen its navy, according to the country’s defence minister.

The news: The Philippines is nearing the end of a five-year, 300 billion peso ($5.85 billion) initiative to modernise its military’s obsolete equipment, which includes World War II-era cruisers and Vietnam-era helicopters.

  • Brahmos Aerospace Private Ltd would deliver three batteries, train operators and maintainers, and offer logistics support under the arrangement agreed with the Indian government, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a Facebook post late Friday.
  • It was conceived in 2017, but due to budget constraints and the coronavirus epidemic, it was delayed.
  • The new anti-ship system is designed to keep foreign vessels out of the country’s exclusive economic zone, which is 200 nautical miles long.

The backstory: The Philippines purchased Israeli-made Spike ER missiles in 2018, making them the country’s first ship-borne missile systems for maritime deterrence.

  • Despite improved relations between China and the Philippines under President Rodrigo Duterte, Beijing has maintained its claim to broad swaths of the South China Sea, which transports over $3.4 trillion in products annually. Competing claims have been filed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam.
  • The Chinese allegations, however, were found to be without legal validity in a 2016 international arbitration verdict.

($1 = 51.31 Philippine pesos)

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