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India to deliver BrahMos missiles to PH soon - envoy

India will deliver BrahMos cruise missiles to the Philippines soon as part of the purchase agreement signed in 2022, the South Asian country's ambassador said.

“We are working towards the earliest possible arrival; I don’t have a timeline at this moment, but it’s going to be soon,” Indian Ambassador to the Philippines Shambhu Kumaran said in a report by JP Soriano on ''24 Oras Weekend'' on Saturday.

In January 2022, the Duterte administration, through then-Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, signed a contract for the acquisition of a shore-based anti-ship missile system worth P18.9 billion.

Lorenzana said at the time that the ''BrahMos missiles will provide deterrence against any attempt to undermine our sovereignty and sovereign rights, especially in the West Philippine Sea.''

In his speech during India's Republic Day celebration, Kumaran reiterated his country's support for the Philippines on the West Philippine Sea issue.

“India stands shoulder to shoulder with our Filipino friends in working towards a shared objective of a peaceful and stable Indo-Pacific. We have and will continue to support each other in multilateral forums. We reject coercion and intimidation," he said.

He added that INS Kadmatt, one of the Indian Navy's anti-submarine warfare corvettes, is ready to help improve the Philippines’ maritime defense capability.

Kumaran also said India was willing to conduct joint patrols with the Philippine Navy and other countries.

''We have extensive training cooperation. We would like to see joint exercises between our navies. We hope that can happen soon,'' he said.

Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo said that aside from defense, the Philippines and India will also have cooperation in the areas of economy, trade, investment, and culture. —Sherylin Untalan/VBL, GMA Integrated News