ASEAN leaders get glimpse of India’s military prowess

Leaders of 10 nations were the chief guests at the Republic Day Parade on Friday.

Updated - January 26, 2018 10:05 pm IST

Published - January 26, 2018 10:03 pm IST - NEW DELHI

The mighty one:  The BrahMos missile system rolls down on the Rajpath at the Republic Day Parade.

The mighty one: The BrahMos missile system rolls down on the Rajpath at the Republic Day Parade.

The leaders of 10 ASEAN countries got a glimpse of India’s indigenous military technologies that were displayed at the Republic Day Parade on Friday.

At the head of the marching contingents were soldiers from Rajputana Rifles, bearing the ASEAN flag as well as those of the 10 nations whose leaders were the chief guests this year. Then came a series of weapon systems and critical technologies developed indigenously.

These include the under-development Nirbhay, a long-range sub-sonic cruise missile, which made its debut this year.

With a range of 1,000 km, it is equivalent to the U.S. Tomahawk cruise missile.

Another débutant was Rudra, the weaponised Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH), which has already been inducted into service. The Akash Short Range Surface to Air Missile (SR-SAM) system and the BrahMos cruise missile developed with Russia were also on display.

Several countries, including some ASEAN nations, have expressed interest in buying these systems, and discussions were under way.

In 2016, India extended a $500-million credit to Vietnam for defence purchases through which Hanoi has contracted four Offshore Patrol Vessels. It is evaluating other systems. “Vietnam is interested in procuring the ALH and Akash. Discussions are under way,” a source said.

The Netra Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) system, mounted on an Embraer ER-145 aircraft, flew in formation with two Su-30 MKI aircraft. It can detect enemy aircraft 400 km away. Very few countries possess this technology. Officials said it would be offered to friendly nations.

The Navy tableau featured the Vikrant aircraft carrier under construction in Kochi. The 40,000-tonne carrier, which will have a complement of 30 fighter jets and helicopters, is expected to be commissioned by October 2020.

The Indian Air Force tableau displayed models of the indigenously developed Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LAC), the Rudra attack helicopter, the Arudhra radar and the Akash systems. Other domestic systems on display were the weapon-locating radar Swathi, the multi-functional Ashwini radar and the mobile-base transceiver station.

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