To take on China's increasing hegemony in Asia, the Modi government has cleared sale of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile to Vietnam.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar begins a five-day visit to Singapore and Vietnam from today. The main highlight of the visit would be talks on sale of BrahMos missiles to Vietnam.

Vietnam had been eyeing the missile for over five years now but the UPA government had been reluctant to give the nod fearing Chinese objections.

The BrahMos Diaries

BrahMos is a supersonic anti-ship missile, developed jointly by New Delhi and Moscow.

It is considered one of the most effective and lethal anti-ship missiles in any nation's inventory, almost entirely due to its speed

While the current BrahMos launch vehicles are surface and aircraft based, India is testing a submarine-launch version that could conceivably be used in Vietnam's Kilo-class submarines

Highly placed defence sources said both PM Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar were in favour of exporting the missile system to Vietnam

Beijing has expressed reservations against any plans by New Delhi to supply weapons to Vietnam

China and Vietnam are already locked in a tense face-off over maritime boundaries in the South China Sea

Praveen Pathak, spokesman for BrahMos Aerospace, told India Today: "We expect friendly nations-with whom neither India nor Russia have a conflict - to show an interest in buying these missiles."

By Manjeet Singh Negi - India Today - June 3, 2016