Russia has initiated the delivery of the S-400 air defense system to India. It is likely to arrive in the first week of December in India. This new initiative may coincide with the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to India. Putin will be in New Delhi to renew military-technical cooperation between the two sides for the next decade. The S-400 is a complex Air defense missile. This missile is a system consisting of radars, control systems, and different types of missiles which was developed in the 1990s by Russia’s Almaz Central Design Bureau as an upgrade of the S-300 series of surface-to-air missile systems. It has been in service with the Russian Armed Force since 2007. The S400 defense system is equipped with targeting systems, multifunctioning radars, autonomous detection, Anti-aircraft missile systems, Launchers, command, and control center.
Dmitry Shugaev, The Directer of FSMTC (The Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation) said, “The supplies of the S400- air defense system to India have started and are proceeding on schedule.”
India and Russia had signed a contract worth $5.4 billion for five S-400 systems in October 2018. The deal took place despite the warning from the Trump administration that India might face US sanctions if it goes ahead with the contract. During Putin’s visit, India and Russia are expected to sign several agreements in defense, trade, and science & technology. One of the key agreements expected to be inked is the Reciprocal exchange of logistics agreement (RELOS). The agreement will allow both militaries to access logistics and support facilities at each other’s bases and ports. The annual summit will also renew their military-technical cooperation arrangements for 2021-31.
Putin’s visit to New Delhi will be his second foreign visit since the outbreak of the pandemic. This reflects the importance attached by Russia to its relationship with India.
Now let’s check why India needs S-400 Air defense system
This particular Russian missile system is crucial for India’s defense capabilities as it is currently locked in a standoff with China. Among the five S-400, four are likely to be deployed in forward areas to defend against aerial threats from Pakistan and China. While the large system could be used to defend vital industrial facilities. According to IAF chief Air Chief Marshal Vivek Chaudhari, the first unit of S-400 systems will be conducted by year-end. Apart from India, S-400s are also deployed by China and Turkey.
The US administration has not made its clear stand on whether India would face sanctions under CAATSA. countering America’s adversaries Through the Sanctions Act (CAATSA) limits military cooperation with Russia, Iran, and North Korea. This means India’s purchase of the S-400 air defense system could invite sanctions from the US. Earlier, Turkey faced similar sanctions when Ankara purchased S-400s from Moscow.
However Republican Senator Ted Cruz and others have called for India to be exempted from the sanctions.