New Delhi: India has started getting deliveries from Russia of the S-400 Triumf, one of the most advanced anti-missile systems, which can bring down enemy fighter jets, UAVs and incoming missiles at a distance of up to 400 km.
India has started getting parts of the S-400 system from Russia and it will be deployed near the country’s western border, from where it can intercept threats from both China and Pakistan. Russia will complete the delivery of the first S-400 squadron by the end of the year, out of the five squadrons for which a Rs 35,000-crore contract was signed in 2018.
This is a major boost to the Indian air defence network at a time when the country is in the middle of a prolonged standoff with China in the Ladakh sector.
China has already deployed the S-400 air defence missile system which it had received from Russia.
The delivery process has begun ahead of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s planned visit to India next month. “The supplies of the S-400 air defence system to India have started and are proceeding on schedule,” the director of Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, Dmitry Shugaev, told Russian news agency Sputnik ahead of the Dubai Air Show.
The S-400 is an upgrade of the S-300 surface-to-air missile system and can detect the target from up to 600 km. It is armed with four different types of missiles with ranges of 400 km, 250 km, 120 km and 40 km.
New Delhi will now have to see how the United States will react to the delivery of the S-400 to India as in the past Washington had indicated this could be considered as a significant transaction under its Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) 2017, and that it could attract sanctions. However, India is expecting a waiver from the United States.
Earlier this year, in March, US defence secretary Lloyd Austin, who was in India, had said that he and defence minister Rajnath Singh had discussed India’s planned purchase of Russia’s S-400 air defence system. He had said the US had urged all its allies to move away from Russian equipment and avoid any kind of acquisition which can trigger sanctions (under CAATSA). He had said since there had been no delivery of S-400 systems to India, the issue of sanctions had not discussed. He had also added at that time that, if called for, any decision on sanctions would only be taken by US President Joe Biden.