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India test-fires long-range BrahMos missile (VIDEO)

Co-developed with Russia, the weapon was launched from the strategically important Andaman and Nicobar islands

The Indian Army has test-fired a long-range BrahMos cruise missile, co-developed with Russia, from the islands of Andaman and Nicobar off the country’s east coast.

The launch was carried out by the Indian Army’s ‘Rising Sun’ missile specialists, and showed the weapon’s “long-range targeting capabilities,” the Eastern Command posted on X (formerly Twitter) on Friday.

The “calculated strike” hit its mark with precision, the army added, describing the test as “a poignant reminder of India’s steadfast dedication to defending its sovereignty and fostering regional stability.”

The Andaman Islands, located at the juncture of the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea off India’s southeast coast, are considered strategically important due to their proximity to the Malacca Strait, a vital shipping lane. Last month, the Indian Navy commissioned a new base, INS Jatayu, on the Minicoy Island of Lakshadweep to bolster its operational capabilities in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). The base will also enhance operational reach and support the Indian Navy’s efforts in anti-piracy and anti-narcotics operations in the Western Arabian Sea, New Delhi stated.

India’s latest test-firing of the BrahMos coincided with the presence of the Chinese Yuan Wang 3 space-tracking ship in the region, Indian Defence Research Wing (IDRW), a specialized outlet, noted last week. New Delhi views the presence of Chinese research vessels in the Indian Ocean Region as “problematic” and believes the ships could be used for monitoring missiles or satellites test-fired from locations in the region.

Speaking in New York last year, Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar noted “a steady increase in the Chinese naval presence and activity in the Indian Ocean,” adding that New Delhi has been watching these developments “very carefully.”

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India's Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on board INS Vikramaditya to inaugurate a naval base in Minicoy on March 6, 2024.
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BrahMos missiles, co-developed with Russia, have emerged as a mainstay in the Indian armed forces. They can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft, or land, and their range has been extended from the original 290km to up to 500km through upgrades. Last month, the Indian government approved $2.3 billion for “combat outfit and training requirements” involving BrahMos missiles.

The BrahMos has also emerged as a key military export item for the South Asian nation. India is seeking to boost its defense manufacturing capabilities to reduce its reliance on imports and increase its weapons exports. In 2022, the Philippines ordered BrahMos missiles worth $375 million, which are likely to be shipped this year. Other nations – including Thailand, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia – have reportedly expressed interest in acquiring the supersonic cruise missiles.

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April 01, 2024 at 01:49PM

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