China counters India's BrahMos deal, donates military aid to Philippines worth $20 million
The defence equipment was delivered to Manila on January 16, two days after the Philippines announced moving forward to procure three batteries of the supersonic BrahMos missile system.
As a counter to the BrahMos export deal with India, China has donated arms worth around $20 million to the Philippines. The defence equipment was delivered to Manila on January 16, two days after the Philippines announced moving forward to procure three batteries of the supersonic BrahMos missile system.
The defence equipment donated by China includes rescue and relief equipment, drone systems, detectors, water purification vehicles, ambulances, firetrucks, X-ray machines, transport vehicles, EOD robots, bomb disposal suits, engineering equipment, dump trucks, forklifts, and earthmovers. The second batch of military items will be delivered soon.
India had recently secured its biggest-ever defence export deal worth $375 million from the Philippines to supply the BrahMos missile system.
As per the Philippines media outlet Inquirer, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana informed that the donation was part of a pledge by his Chinese counterpart Gen Wei Fenghe during the Chinese official’s visit to Manila in 2020. That is a big help, Lorenzana said, adding that it will help meet some of the country's large equipment shortfall.
Under the current leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, Manila and Beijing have enhanced their relationship. The Duterte leadership has stressed a soft approach towards China despite an international tribunal’s ruling that denied China's claim on territorial rights in the South China Sea in 2016. It is said that the soft stance adopted by Duterte is in exchange for loans and investments.
Recently, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had urged the next leader to continue with Duterte's foreign policy on China as the Philippines gears up for the presidential election. Wang Yi had said that the policy served the purpose of both countries. Duterte, who became the president in 2016, will step down after the May election in line with the country's one-term limit.