By early next year, the Philippines will engage in talks with India for the acquisition of several critical defence platforms, including BrahMos supersonic cruise missile. Other South-East nations, including Indonesia and Singapore have also evinced interests for the highly powerful and devastative BrahMos supersonic cruise missile system.


Also, India is planning to meet the long pending demand of Vietnam for BrahMos and Akash missiles, which were earlier denied because of China’s sensitivity. In 2016, New Delhi had provided $500 million worth of Line of Credit (LoC) to Hanoi for defence purchase. But since this LoC couldn’t be executed because of various reasons, the changed geo-political situation in the region has compelled Vietnam to use the LoC for the purpose it was given by India four years ago.  


Through such moves, India wants to send a message to China that days of hesitations and obfuscations are over and New Delhi will not bother about Beijing’s sensitivity when it comes to protecting strategic interests. 


To China’s chagrin, India has offered to give the Philippines coastal surveillance radar systems and agreed to further strengthen defence engagement and maritime cooperation between the two countries, especially in military training and education, capacity building, regular goodwill visits, and procurement of defence equipment.


Decision to this regard was taken at the recently concluded joint commission meeting between India and the Philippines. That joint commission meeting between the two countries was revived after 2015, indicating categorically how China has emerged as a threat to sovereignty and integrity of countries in Southeast and South Asia.


In particular, the South China Sea where the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and Taiwan have territorial claims, China maintains that the entire Sea belongs to it. Believing in the might is right dictum, Beijing says the South China Sea is part of its nine-dash line, a highly contested demarcation line of which there is no legal basis.


In July 2016, an international tribunal constituted under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea ruled against China over its so-called historical claims over the South China Sea in a case brought by the Philippines. But arrogant and assertive China refused to acknowledge international tribunal’s judgment over the Sea.


This led to the creation of an anti-China perception in the world, which further snowballed after the June 15 incident when marauding Chinese PLA soldiers killed 20 Indian Army jawans in the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh. The incident exposed Beijing’s deceitful nature.


India is planning to adopt a proactive strategy to check an aggressive China to prevent it from further encircling India in South Asia or the entire Indo-Pacific region. India together with US, Japan and Australia has adopted coordinated economic, political and diplomatic measures to check China in the region. In this backdrop, India’s quest for a deeper and meaningful engagement with Southeast Asian countries at military, defence and capacity building levels is bound to gain momentum in near future.

Michuzi Blog

Tanzanian blog operating since 2005, covering International news and Local News, including Politics, Fashion, Social Scenes, Interviews, Movies, Events, personalities and anything positive happening worldwide. Written in Swahili and English targeting both Swahili and English readers.

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