SOURCE: PRAVIN DHAUSKAR / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
India and Vietnam have decided to deepen their defence cooperation and are making plans to move their strategic ties to next level . Indian Navy has been training Vietnam Navy to operate Russian-built Kilo Class Diesel submarines and from early next year Indian Air force will send Instructors to Vietnam to train its pilots from Vietnam People’s Air Force to fly Sukhoi Su-30MK2 combat jets.
Vietnam has also shown interest in the purchase of some Indian developed weapons system and Indo-Russian developed BrahMos Anti-ship Supersonic cruise missile tops their wish list to beef up its Navy due to raging dispute with China over ownership of territory and undersea deposits of oil and gas in the South China Sea (SCS) .
Purchase of BrahMos by Vietnam had put India and Russia in a tricky situation since such offensive weapon system most likely will be used against Chinese naval fleet and sale of BrahMos can be a game changer for Vietnam’s Smaller Navy if needs arise to confront Bigger Chinese navy in SCS.
India and Vietnam have discussed sale of BrahMos in LandtoSea based configuration which is seen has defensive configuration, where Mobile Truck based BrahMos system can be used to safeguard shore-based Naval bases and other key facilities against approaching enemies warships against its coastlines but Vietnam reportedly also want to purchase Ship-based BrahMos system but want it to be equipped with smaller boats rather than bigger ships like frigates and Destroyers as used by Indian Navy .
Country’s leading defence shipyard, Goa Shipyard Limited sensing an opportunity to further expand its export kitty has submitted a proposal to the Indian Navy to construct offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) armed with BrahMos missiles, which can be used to take on enemy naval warships in high seas and Interestingly Vietnam earlier had sought similar class of ships to be equipped with BrahMos missiles .
Arming offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) with BrahMos will give combat muscle to smaller vessels at fraction of the cost it takes to construct Frigates and Destroyer class warships . With Clearly export in mind, GSL wants to tap export orders from countries who have smaller Naval fleet and simply cannot afford to acquire larger warships but are interested in Ship based BrahMos weapons system in a ship to ship configuration.
As per GSL proposal each offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) can be armed with 8 BrahMos in Missile Cannister and a small fleet of OPVs will be able to carry out aggressive Naval Patrol duties in unrestricted waters and can also be used for the protection of offshore installations against bigger warships deployed by Enemy.