India ignores US threat; buys S-400 missiles from Russia


New Delhi, Oct. 5: India on Friday ignored threats by the US to impose sanctions and went ahead with the deal to procure the S-400 ‘Triumph’ air defence missiles from Russia.

An Indo-Russian joint statement after the Narendra Modi-Vladimir Putin meet in New Delhi said, “Both sides welcomed the conclusion of the contract for the supply of the S-400 Long Range Surface to Air Missile System to India.”

The deal was inked sometime in the morning. The reaction of the US will be known later. 

India is buying five systems costing some US $ 5.4 billion. These will provide ‘umbrella coverage’ against any air-borne threats like fighter jets, missiles, UAVs, etc. The S-400 missile system (radars on ground) can track some 300 targets and then guide missiles to shoot down around three dozen targets simultaneously over a range of 400-600 kilometres.

The sensitive radars of the system are able to detect even stealth aircraft which are often impossible for other systems to track. For example, S-400 systems deployed in a city like Jalandhar in Punjab can track aircraft flying well over Islamabad and Peshawar in Pakistan.

The move to get the missiles comes even as the US has passed the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) that requires imposing curbs on nations that have “significant” defence relations with Russia. There is provision for a waiver and New Delhi has argued out its case to the US.  India has a strategic partnership with the US but has made it clear to Washington that Indo-Russian military relations stand separate of Indo-Us relations and are not inter-connected.

Among the 39 entities listed by the US is the Rosoboronexport, the Russian state-controlled intermediary for export and import of arms.

The Tribune was the first to report in its edition dated September 7 that despite US pressure “India will run the course of its military relations with Russia”.

Moscow is the single largest supplier of weapons and military equipment to India. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), on March 12 this year, released its annual report ‘Trends in international arms transfers’. Making an assessment for a five-year block (2013-2017) it said Russia accounted for 62 per cent of India’s arms imports.

India and Russia reaffirmed their commitment to enhancing military technical cooperation. “Both sides expressed satisfaction at the significant progress made on the ongoing projects of military technical cooperation and recognised the positive shift towards joint research and joint production of military technical equipment between the two countries.

The ongoing projects include a joint venture between Kamov and HAL to make 200 Ka-226T helicopters. The licensed production of AK 103 assault rifles is being discussed. The Tribune

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