India will leverage the missile sale to insert itself more deeply in South China Sea disputes while bolstering the anti-China Quad in the hot spot maritime theatre

India’s Act east Policy will get a boost when another export order for shore based anti-ship variant of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile by year end is Inked. “Talks with Indonesia are in advanced stage for the export of the Indo-Russian BrahMos supersonic cruise missile. The deal could have been signed earlier, however, due to internal matters of that country, by year end, or early next year the deal is expected to be sealed," reports The Financial Express.

First Strike: India's First Export Sale of The BrahMos To The Philippines

India’s sale to the Philippines of its BrahMos supersonic cruise missile marks a key strategic turning point, with India firmly wading into the South China Sea hot spot and Manila taking order of its first major cruise missile system.

Significantly, both countries are locked in long-standing territorial disputes with China, which can now expect to see more of the much-vaunted BrahMos missile system on its disputed borders in the Himalayas with India and in the South China Sea with the Philippines Asia Times had reported.

It is worthy to note in this context, due to India's strategic reticence, it had failed to export the highly accurate Prithvi surface-to-surface missiles to Vietnam. But things have changed under the more assertive Narendra Modi government, which aims to increase annual defence exports to $5 billion by 2025.

If the deal goes through without any hiccups, Indonesia will become the second ASEAN member country after the Philippines to import these deadly missiles from India.

Potential Expansion To India's Strategic Interests In The Indo-Pacific Region

The BrahMos sale to Indonesia will potentially serve as a springboard for more concerted efforts by the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) powers of India, US, Japan and Australia to enhance the deterrence capacity of smaller, aligned powers in the Indo-Pacific.

People familiar with developments said that a team from the BrahMos Aerospace, that makes the weapon system visited a state-run shipyard in Surabaya, Indonesia in 2018 to assess the fitting of the missile on Indonesian warships.

The highly dexterous supersonic missile system can be deployed on warships, submarines as well as fighter jets, giving the platform’s operators a wide range of options in its deployment.

The BrahMos may be an effective system as Indonesian strategic planners hope, due to the dismal performance of Chinese HQ-9 defence which failed to detect and counter a rouge BrahMos missile fired inadvertently by India into Pakistan, though the Chinese system is said to boast of an advanced guidance systems and multi-target anti-jamming capabilities.

The Indonesian and Indian armies have held exercises for several years and the first bilateral naval wargame was held last November. The first bilateral air force exercise is expected to be held in 2019, the people said.