Dr. Roshan Writes: India’s effort to become an arms exporter may become a reality sooner than later. There are proposal to sell BrahMos, the niche supersonic cruise missile to fifteen countries and the top of the list is Vietnam. In 2011 Vietnam had approached India requesting for exporting BrahMos cruise missile, since then the deliberations were going on. Now it is believed that the Narendra Modi government has ordered BrahMos Aerospace, which produces the missiles, to accelerate sales to a list of five countries topped by Vietnam, according to a government note viewed by Reuters and previously unreported.
BrahMos is considered a formidable weapon because of its supersonic speed and accuracy. It is an Indo-Russian joint venture. The fact that it can be used in all three mediums, that is land, sea and air makes it a multipurpose missile. Its sea version is especially in demand with the countries of South East Asia. This is because it has a 2.8 Mach supersonic speed (nearly one km/second), this gives it an enormous strike power and makes it challenging for the adversary to intercept it. Most other anti-ship missiles fly at subsonic speeds, and even the U.S. RGM/UGM-109 “Tomahawk” cruise missile, which has been used successfully in both Iraq and Afghanistan, operates at a subsonic speed of less than Mach 1.0. Apart from Vietnam other countries in South East Asia who would like to have this cruise missile are Philippines,Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand.
The export of this would further be eased out as India is slated to sign the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and the ranges and payload of this missile falls below the yardsticks of MTCR.Its range is nearly 300 kms and the payload is 300 kg which is less than what is banned by the MTCR (Missile above 500 kms and Payload 500kg is banned by MTCR). However since it is a joint project India would have to take concurrence from Russia before any deal is finalised.
This is a bold step by the government considering previously there was ambiguity as far as the export of BrahMos was concerned. Considering China’s export of arms to Pakistan have continued unabated and also its maritime liaising with the littoral states of Indian Ocean has increased in the recent years, it is high time that India also leverage its strength and send a positive image to countries with whom India interests’ converge.
 With China on its mind, India set to export BrahMos cruise missile to Vietnam, Times of India, 09 June 2016 at http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/With-China-on-its-mind-India-set-to-export-BrahMos-cruise-missile-to-Vietnam/articleshow/52672523.cms
 BrahMos, Missile Threat at http://missilethreat.com/missiles/brahmos/