Thailand may become the first international customer of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile co-developed by India and Russia.
“Thailand is in talks with India to buy the missiles. Negotiations are on. It may not happen this year, but most likely next year,” diplomatic sources were quoted as saying by The Hindu on Thursday.
While Thailand expressed interest in acquiring the missiles some time ago, discussions picked pace after the visit of Royal Thai Navy Chief Admiral Ruddit to India in December last year.
In May this year, an Indian defence official confirmed that several south-east Asian countries had shown interest in the missile. "A number of southeast Asian countries are ready to buy our missiles. It will be our first export and we have received increasing interest in the missiles from the Gulf countries", Commodore S K Iyer, Chief General Manager for HR at BrahMos Aerospace, said at the IMDEX Asia 2019 exhibition.
Apart from Thailand, countries like Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia have also reportedly demonstrated interest in purchasing the BrahMos missiles.
Thailand has also requested India to conduct repair and overhaul works of its fleet of Dornier maritime patrol aircraft. Additionally the two parties are in talks regarding the former’s interest in building ships and increasing its naval capabilities.
In line with that, Indian Navy is exploring opportunities wherein India could help in ship design and has even “offered ship construction at the various defence public sector undertaking shipyards,” the report said.
Discussions are on to integrate Thailand into India’s coastal surveillance radar chain network which are “likely to be finalised by year end.” Several littoral states including Maldives and Seychelles have already been integrated into it.