Has Brazil sold arms to Pakistan overlooking Indian concerns? A section of Brazilian media has carried reports about a Pakistan Air Force transport aircraft being loaded with missiles and bombs last month at Sao Jose dos Campos airport near Sao Paulo.
If these reports are true, the move will be received by surprise as just last year, Brazil had cancelled a contract to sell anti-radiation missiles - meant to destroy radars - to Pakistan. It was widely believed that the deal was cancelled keeping in mind the Indian concerns.
There is no official confirmation so far on the nature of cargo loaded on the C-130 transport aircraft of the Pakistan Air Force. One report claimed that it was short range air to air missile 1-A Piranha, whose improved version MAA-1B is still under development. Other claim has been that the cargo was unguided bombs based on the US MK Series.
The reports also claimed that the sale was kept a secret due to a confidentially clause in the contract.
But the ammunition mentioned in the reports is old. Piranha missiles were used in now retired Mirage III fighter jets of the Brazilian Air Force. PAF still flies a variant of Mirage III.
According to the report, the missiles were loaded in two C-130 aircraft of PAF and the exact value of the deal in terms of money was still not known.
As the veracity of these reports remains to be verified, some experts felt that the timing of such a move by Brazil was surprising as the Latin American country was keen to engage India in expanding defence cooperation.
Just three months ago, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was in Brazil where it was decided to enhance defence ties. The two sides had agreed to place defence attaches in each others country. Brazil has a strong aviation sector and there have been talks to explore joint ventures.
By not selling anti-radiation missiles to Pakistan, Brazil had sent a strong message to India and opened the way for striking new deals.
India and Brazil have common interests in the military sector as both have big armed forces.