Philippines receives first BrahMos missiles in $375 million deal with India - Business Guardian
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International Relations

Philippines receives first BrahMos missiles in $375 million deal with India



India has fulfilled its commitment to deliver BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles to the Philippines as part of a USD 375 million deal signed in 2022. The Indian Air Force dispatched its C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft carrying the missiles to the Philippines’ Marine Corps, according to defense sources. The delivery of ground systems for the BrahMos missile system began last month. The Philippines aims to deploy three batteries of the BrahMos missile system along its coastal areas amid escalating tensions with China in the South China Sea. The deal received approvals from partner nations involved in the program. BrahMos, a joint venture between DRDO and Russia’s NPO Mashinostroyeniya, is recognized as one of the world’s most successful missile programs and strengthens India’s deterrence capabilities.

The BrahMos supersonic cruise missile delivery to the Philippines marks a significant development in the region’s geopolitical landscape. With tensions escalating in the South China Sea, the acquisition of these advanced missile systems by the Philippines underscores its commitment to bolstering its defense capabilities and safeguarding its territorial integrity.

The BrahMos missile, renowned for its precision-guided capabilities and unmatched speed, is a testament to India’s prowess in defense technology. Developed as a joint venture between India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Russia’s NPO Mashinostroyeniya, BrahMos has emerged as a game-changer in the realm of missile systems.

The successful integration of multiple BrahMos regiments into the Indian Army since 2007 has further solidified its reputation as a formidable deterrent against potential threats. Its versatility and effectiveness in various operational scenarios make it a prized asset for any military seeking to enhance its defensive capabilities. For the Philippines, the acquisition of BrahMos missiles comes at a critical juncture, as it grapples with increasing tensions and assertive behavior from neighboring China in the South China Sea. The deployment of these missile systems along the country’s coastal areas signifies a proactive approach to safeguarding its maritime interests and deterring potential aggressors.

Moreover, the delivery of BrahMos missiles underscores the deepening defense cooperation between India and the Philippines. The USD 375 million deal signifies not only a commercial transaction but also a strategic partnership aimed at promoting regional stability and security.

The successful completion of the delivery process highlights the reliability and efficiency of India’s defense manufacturing capabilities, further enhancing its reputation as a trusted defense partner in the global arena. The meticulous planning and execution involved in transporting the missiles to the Philippines demonstrate India’s commitment to fulfilling its obligations and supporting its allies in times of need.

As tensions continue to simmer in the South China Sea, the deployment of BrahMos missiles by the Philippines sends a clear message of deterrence to any potential aggressors. By bolstering its defense capabilities with advanced weaponry, the Philippines seeks to assert its sovereignty and protect its national interests in the face of growing regional challenges.

In short, the delivery of BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles to the Philippines represents a significant milestone in the region’s security dynamics. It reflects India’s commitment to supporting its allies and promoting peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. As the BrahMos missile system becomes operational in the Philippines, it is poised to play a pivotal role in safeguarding the country’s territorial integrity and deterring external threats, thereby contributing to the maintenance of peace and security in the region.

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International Relations

US Warns of sanctions over India-Iran port deal



Hours after India signed an agreement to operate the Chabahar Port in Iran for 10 years, the United States has issued a warning regarding the potential risks associated with engaging in business deals with Tehran amidst ongoing sanctions.

The US State Department’s Principal Deputy Spokesperson, Vedant Patel, emphasized the importance of understanding the implications of such agreements while affirming the United States’ commitment to enforcing sanctions on Iran. In a press briefing held on Monday (local time), Patel acknowledged the reports of the deal between Iran and India regarding the Chabahar Port. However, he deferred to the Indian government to articulate its foreign policy objectives concerning the port and its bilateral relationship with Iran. Patel reiterated the stance of the United States, emphasizing that sanctions on Iran remain in effect, and any entity contemplating business ventures with Iran should be cognizant of the potential sanctions risk.

The Long-Term Bilateral Contract on Chabahar Port Operation was formalized between Indian Ports Global Limited (IPGL) of India and the Port & Maritime Organization (PMO) of Iran. This agreement facilitates the operation of the Shahid-Behesti port within the Chabahar Port Development Project for a duration of 10 years. IPGL has committed to enhancing and managing the port’s operations throughout the contract period. Additionally, both parties have expressed their intent to extend their collaboration beyond the initial 10-year term, thereby fostering continued cooperation in Chabahar.

As part of the agreement, IPGL plans to invest approximately USD 120 million in equipping the port. Furthermore, India has extended a credit line amounting to USD 250 million for mutually identified projects aimed at enhancing Chabahar-related infrastructure. This significant investment underscores India’s commitment to bolstering its trade and connectivity with Afghanistan and Central Asian nations through the Chabahar Port.

The long-term lease agreement strengthens the bilateral ties between India and Iran, instilling confidence and fostering trust within the regional trading communities. The Chabahar Port serves as a vital transit point for trade between India, Afghanistan, and Central Asian countries, facilitating access to landlocked regions. India’s involvement in the development and operation of the port underscores its strategic interest in enhancing regional connectivity and promoting economic integration.

Over the years, the Indian government has made substantial investments in upgrading the port’s infrastructure to transform it into a viable transit route for Indian goods destined for Afghanistan and Central Asia. The Chabahar Port project exemplifies the collaborative efforts between India and Iran to harness economic opportunities and promote regional stability.

While India moves forward with its plans to operate the Chabahar Port, it remains cognizant of the geopolitical dynamics and potential challenges, particularly in light of the US sanctions on Iran. The successful implementation of the Chabahar Port project is poised to bolster trade and connectivity, contributing to the socioeconomic development of the region.

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International Relations

Blinken’s surprise Ukraine visit: Meeting with Zelenskyy



US State Secretary Antony Blinken on Tuesday embarked on an unannounced visit to Ukraine to foster ties and reaffirm American support to Kyiv amid its ongoing war with Russia.

Secretary Blinken shared details of his arrival in Kyiv on X saying, “I returned to Kyiv today to demonstrate our unwavering support for Ukraine as they defend their freedom against Russian aggression.”

Additionally, US State Department official spokesperson Matthew Miller also shared that Secretary Blinken will meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other senior leaders to discuss battlefield updates. “While in Kyiv, the Secretary will meet with President Zelenskyy and Ukrainian senior leaders to discuss battlefield updates, the impact of new US security and economic assistance, and ongoing work to bolster Ukraine’s economic recovery,” he posted on X.

The visit comes as the United States announced a USD 400 million military aid package for Ukraine as the country continues to be in desperate need of Western aid amid intensifying pressure from Russia, The Hill reported.

This package is the third slated for Kyiv after the US passed the national security supplemental last month that included USD 61 billion for Kyiv.

The new package includes Patriot air defense munitions and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, which have been crucial to defending Ukraine’s skies and keeping its cities safe, The Hill reported on Friday.

Other equipment includes more High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems and 155 mm and 105 mm artillery rounds, which Ukraine was in desperate need of to fend off Russian attacks across the front line as Moscow has an advantage in artillery fire, the report said.

The US is also providing Javelin missiles, Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles, M113 Armoured Personnel Carriers, patrol boats and general small arms ammunition, grenades and demolition munitions.

Notably, the announcement comes after the passage of an initial USD 1 billion package in late April, shortly after President Biden signed the national security supplemental bill into law. This had come after months of Congress holding up talks on new aid for Ukraine.

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin also announced a USD 6 billion package for Ukraine that will require Kyiv to purchase equipment from the defence industrial base before delivery, The Hill reported.

As Russia intensifies pressure across the eastern frontline, making critical advances in the Donetsk region, US aid will play a crucial role in the Ukrainian counteroffensive.

This announcement comes on the heels of a fresh attack launched by Russia in the north-eastern Kharkiv region, putting even more pressure on Ukrainian forces.

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International Relations

Taiwan reports Chinese incursion in strait



In a recent development, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defence (MND) reported the presence of 10 Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft and five People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) vessels in the vicinity of Taiwan as of 6 am (UTC+8) on Tuesday. According to the Ministry, the ten PLA aircraft breached the median line of the Taiwan Strait and entered into Taiwan’s Southwestern Air Defence Identification Zone (SW ADIZ), prompting a response from the Republic of China Armed Forces (ROCArmedForces).

The Ministry highlighted the incursion and underscored the vigilance of Taiwan’s armed forces in monitoring and responding to such activities. The presence of PLA assets near Taiwan signifies yet another escalation in tensions between Taiwan and China, amidst ongoing military maneuvers and increased assertiveness from Beijing.

Taiwan, officially known as the Republic of China, has consistently voiced concerns over China’s growing military presence and aggressive posturing near its borders. The Ministry’s announcement reaffirms Taiwan’s commitment to safeguarding its territorial integrity and sovereignty in the face of mounting challenges.

For several years, the MND has been issuing daily reports on Chinese military activities, including instances of aircraft, drones, and naval vessels crossing the Taiwan Strait median line. The median line, which historically served as a tacit border between China and Taiwan, has witnessed increased violations by Chinese military assets in recent times.

The escalation in military activities comes amidst a backdrop of heightened geopolitical tensions and strategic maneuvering in the Indo-Pacific region. China’s utilization of grey zone tactics, characterized by incremental military actions aimed at achieving strategic objectives without resorting to direct confrontation, has become increasingly apparent.

Since September 2020, China has intensified its grey zone tactics by escalating the frequency of military aircraft and naval vessels operating near Taiwan. The persistent use of such tactics underscores Beijing’s strategic calculus and its efforts to assert dominance in the region.

The recent incident underscores the complex dynamics of the cross-strait relationship between Taiwan and mainland China. Despite efforts to maintain stability and avoid escalation, the inherent tensions between the two sides remain a constant challenge.

The international community closely monitors developments in the Taiwan Strait, recognizing the potential ramifications of any escalation in tensions between Taiwan and China. As Taiwan continues to navigate its delicate relationship with mainland China, the role of regional actors and international stakeholders in ensuring peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific remains paramount.

The recent incursion of PLA aircraft and naval vessels near Taiwan highlights the ongoing challenges faced by the island nation in maintaining its sovereignty and territorial integrity. As tensions persist, Taiwan remains committed to upholding its security interests while advocating for peaceful resolution and stability in the region.

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International Relations

Indian, Australian Navies strengthen Maritime cooperation



The talks underscored the growing strategic importance of cooperation between India and Australia in the Indo-Pacific region.

The 16th Indian Navy-Australian Navy Staff Talks, held in Kochi, marked a significant step forward in maritime cooperation between the two nations. Rear Admiral Nirbhay Bapna from the Indian Navy and Rear Admiral Jonathan Earley from the Royal Australian Navy co-chaired the talks, focusing on enhancing operational interoperability, Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA), and exploring new avenues of cooperation in maritime partnerships.

The successful conclusion of these talks underscores the commitment of both navies to deepening ties and strengthening collaborative efforts in the maritime domain. The discussions highlighted the growing strategic importance of cooperation between India and Australia in the Indo-Pacific region. By bridging oceans, the navies aim to ensure security, stability, prosperity, and peace in the region.

During the talks, both sides emphasized the importance of operational interoperability, which enhances their ability to work together effectively during joint operations, exercises, and humanitarian missions. Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) was another focal point, with discussions centered on enhancing the navies’ ability to monitor, track, and respond to maritime threats and challenges.

The talks also explored new avenues of cooperation in maritime partnerships, including joint exercises, training programs, information sharing, and capacity-building initiatives. These initiatives aim to strengthen regional maritime security and promote rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific.

The Indian Navy’s recent deployment of INS Kiltan to Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, further demonstrates its commitment to enhancing maritime cooperation with regional partners. The visit, part of the Operational Deployment of the Indian Navy’s Eastern Fleet, received a warm welcome from the Vietnam People’s Navy and Indian Embassy.

India and Vietnam share a comprehensive strategic partnership, and the visit by INS Kiltan aims to strengthen the longstanding friendship and cooperation between the two maritime nations. Activities during the visit include professional interactions, sporting events, social exchanges, and community outreach initiatives.

The visit will culminate in a Maritime Partnership Exercise at sea between the Indian Navy and Vietnam People’s Navy, enhancing interoperability and the exchange of best practices. INS Kiltan, an indigenous ASW corvette, exemplifies India’s naval capabilities and underscores its commitment to maritime security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

Designed by the Indian Navy’s Directorate of Naval Design and built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE), Kolkata, INS Kiltan is the third of four P28 Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) corvettes. Its advanced capabilities enhance India’s maritime surveillance, anti-submarine warfare, and coastal defense capabilities, contributing to regional security and stability.

The 16th Indian Navy-Australian Navy Staff Talks and the deployment of INS Kiltan to Vietnam highlight the growing cooperation and collaboration among Indo-Pacific nations to address maritime security challenges. These initiatives strengthen regional partnerships, promote stability, and safeguard the rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific.

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India Showcases Green Hydrogen Progress at Global Event



India’s participation in the World Hydrogen Summit highlights its dedication to propelling sustainable energy solutions amidst a global gathering of over 15,000 delegates.

India’s presence at the World Hydrogen Summit 2024 in Rotterdam marks a significant milestone as the nation makes its debut with a sprawling pavilion, organized by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. This pavilion, touted as one of the largest at the summit, serves as a platform to showcase India’s strides in the domain of Green Hydrogen, a crucial component in the global green energy landscape.

With over 15,000 delegates converging from across the globe, the World Hydrogen Summit is a prestigious gathering fostering discussions on the future of green hydrogen. India’s participation underscores its commitment to advancing sustainable energy solutions on the global stage.

The Indian delegation boasts representatives from key ministries including New and Renewable Energy, Science and Technology, Railways, Petroleum and Natural Gas, alongside participants from private sector entities. This diverse representation facilitates not only government-to-government engagements but also enables Indian industries to forge partnerships with global counterparts.

India’s National Green Hydrogen Mission, launched in January 2023 with a significant allocation of Rs 19,744 crores, epitomizes the nation’s ambitious targets in this sphere. By aiming to achieve a green hydrogen production capacity of 5 million tonnes by 2030, India is aligning itself with global efforts towards sustainable energy transitions.

As of now, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has already awarded tenders for establishing 412,000 tonnes of Green Hydrogen production capacity and 1,500 MW of electrolyzer manufacturing capacity, demonstrating tangible progress towards these goals.

India’s pursuit of green energy alternatives is underscored by its commitments made at COP26 in 2021. The “Panchamrit” pledge outlines a multifaceted approach encompassing the expansion of non-fossil electricity capacity to 500 GW, generating half of all energy from renewables, and reducing emissions by 1 billion tonnes by 2030.

Furthermore, India aims to slash emissions intensity of GDP by 45 percent and achieve net-zero emissions by 2070. Union Minister RK Singh, overseeing power and renewable portfolios, emphasized that India’s current reliance on non-fossil energy sources stands at 44 percent, surpassing expectations set at COP26. Projections suggest this figure could surge to 65 percent by 2030, underscoring India’s unwavering commitment to sustainable development.

The World Hydrogen Summit serves as a testament to India’s evolving role in the global green energy discourse. By leveraging platforms like these, India not only showcases its technological advancements but also fosters collaborations crucial for driving the transition towards a sustainable future.

As discussions unfold at the summit, India’s participation is poised to catalyze synergies, accelerate innovation, and propel the nation towards its green energy objectives. With concerted efforts and strategic initiatives, India is poised to emerge as a key player in the global hydrogen ecosystem, contributing significantly to the collective endeavor for a greener, more sustainable planet.

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International Relations

India Rushes $1 Million in Aid to Flood-Stricken Kenya



Amidst the aftermath of devastating floods wreaking havoc across Kenya, the Government of India has extended a compassionate hand of assistance to the beleaguered nation. With 38 out of 47 counties affected and staggering statistics revealing 267 lives lost, 188 injured, and over 280,000 displaced, the Ministry of External Affairs conveyed India’s solidarity through a press release.

India’s response is swift and comprehensive. A relief consignment, weighing 22 tonnes, is en route via an Indian Air Force plane. Packed within are vital humanitarian aid and disaster relief (HADR) items, including tents, sleeping bags, blankets, power generation sets, and ready-to-eat meals. Such provisions aim to offer immediate succor to the distressed populace of Kenya.

However, the aid doesn’t stop there. Recognizing the urgent need for medical assistance, India has included 18 tonnes of medical aid in the consignment. Essential life-saving drugs, surgical equipment for critical care, and wound management supplies constitute this crucial segment. Moreover, provisions for baby food, water purification, menstrual hygiene, and mosquito repellents are integrated into the consignment. The inclusion of diagnostic kits for malaria, dengue, and anti-venom treatments underscores India’s commitment to addressing immediate health concerns on the ground.

India’s support is not confined to aerial deliveries alone. The Indian Naval ship INS Sumedha has already reached Mombasa, laden with relief supplies. This proactive approach ensures that aid reaches affected areas swiftly, minimizing further distress.

The assistance extended to Kenya is emblematic of India’s steadfast commitment to fostering strong, friendly relations. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s emphasis on prioritizing Africa underlines India’s dedication to South-South cooperation. As the Ministry of External Affairs conveys India’s heartfelt sympathies, it reinforces the ethos of solidarity in times of adversity.

The situation in Kenya is dire, compounded by the impending threat of Cyclone Hidaya. With torrential rains persisting since March, the country faces one of its most catastrophic weather crises in recent memory. Al Jazeera’s report on May 4 highlighted the grim toll: over 200 fatalities, thousands displaced, and nearly 2,000 schools destroyed. The closure of all remaining schools underscores the severity of the situation, with education disrupted indefinitely.

Amid these challenges, the impending cyclone threatens to exacerbate the already dire circumstances. Kenya, along with neighboring Tanzania, braces for further inundation, amplifying the toll of the flooding. Such adversities are compounded by recent heavy rainfall across East Africa, exacerbating the region’s plight.

In light of these challenges, India’s assistance serves as a beacon of hope. Beyond the tangible aid delivered, it symbolizes the strength of solidarity and friendship between nations. In times of crisis, such gestures exemplify the essence of humanity, transcending borders and differences.

As Kenya navigates through these turbulent waters, the support of the international community, including India, stands as a testament to resilience and compassion. While the road to recovery may be long, the spirit of solidarity embodied in India’s assistance offers a glimmer of hope amidst the darkness of devastation.

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