India-Philippines defence ties should not harm third party: Chinese PLA

China’s military has reacted guardedly to the delivery of BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles by India to the Philippines, saying that security and defence cooperation between the two countries should not harm the interest of any third party and harm regional stability.

India delivered the first batch of the BrahMos missiles over two years after it signed a USD 375 million deal with the Philippines to supply the weapon systems.

“China always believes that defence and security cooperation between countries should not harm the interest of any third party and should not harm regional peace and stability”, Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Sr. Co. Wu Qian told a media briefing here when asked for his comment on the delivery of BrahMos missiles by India to the Philippines.

At the same time, Wu sharply criticised the US for deploying medium-range ballistic missiles in the Philippines this month amid the escalation of hostilities between China and the Philippines over their South China Sea dispute.

The deployment of the MRC missile system, also known as the Typhon system, to the Indo-Pacific theatre comes amid a series of US-Philippine military exercises, including the largest-ever edition of the annual bilateral Balikatan drills beginning early this week, CNN reported.

The 1,600-km mid-range capability missiles which were deployed in northern Luzon of the Philippines could reach China’s coast.

“China firmly opposes the US deployment of medium-range ballistic missiles in the Asia-Pacific.

Our position is clear and consistent. The US’ move severely threatens the security of regional countries and undermines regional peace and stability,” Wu said.

“We hope the relevant country could refrain from opening the door to the devil, which will only end up hurting everyone including itself,” he said.

The BrahMos missiles along with launchers were delivered by India to the Philippines by a transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force on April 19.

Under the January 2022 deal, India will supply three batteries of the missiles, their launchers and related equipment.

It was the first export of the BrahMos missile by India.

India has been looking at further expanding defence ties with the Philippines against the backdrop of growing global concerns over China’s increasing military assertiveness in the South China Sea.

China claims most of the South China Sea. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counterclaims.

The Indian and US missile deliveries arrived in the Philippines as Manila was locked in a bitter naval standoff with the Chinese navy in the South China Sea.

The Philippines, backed by the US trying to assert its claims over the South China Sea based on the 2016 ruling by a tribunal of the UN Convention of Law of Seas, (UNCLOS) endorsing its rights.

China which boycotted the tribunal however rejected the tribunal findings.