India will deploy the first regiment of S-400 Triumph surface-to-air missile defense system, with the first unit to begin operation in April, media reported on Monday.
The five missile defense S-400 units will be deployed at the border areas to address the threat from China, with one of them set to start running in April and the others by the next year, Indian newspaper Hindustan Times reported, citing sources familiar with the matter. The Indian government is yet to make a public statement about the deployment.
Russia and India signed a $5.43 billion contract for the supply of S-400 in October 2018 following China and Turkey, which acquired the defense complexes earlier. The S-400 Triumph missile defense systems are capable of shooting down a hostile aircraft from a distance of 25 to 249 miles.
India is deploying the systems amid a flare-up in tensions with China in the Ladakh border area. Both Beijing and New Delhi have increased their military presence in the area.
India Ready To Push Back China
The Indian air force (IAF) is fully prepared to counter China’s increasing military presence at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the disputed border territories, IAF Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari had stated in October last year.
The tensions between the two countries have been on the rise over the past few weeks as both accuse each other of increased military presence in eastern Ladakh.
“There is deployment of PLA [Chinese armed forces] at the LAC. China has increased its infrastructure there. We are fully prepared. Their forward deployment might be bigger but Indian Airforce is well prepared,” Chaudhari said at a press conference.
Chaudhari further noted that the IAF has been actively modernizing its equipment and purchasing new vehicles.
“The recent deployment of Rafale, Apache aircraft has enhanced our capability. IAF’s offensive strike capability has become even more potent with the induction of modern edge weapons. With the upcoming deployment of Tejas MK 1A and S400 the IAF will become even stronger,” Chaudhari had said.
In 2015, the IAF signed a contract with the United States on the purchase of 22 Apache Guardian attack helicopters, and the first aircraft was officially handed over to the IAF in May 2019. In 2016, India contracted 36 Rafale fighter aircraft from France. The first batch of five fighter jets arrived in India in last July, and the rest are expected to be delivered before the end of 2021.
Tejas MK 1A Light Combat Aircraft are produced domestically by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, and Russia’s S-400 air defense systems are expected to be shipped to India and put into service in 2021, according to Chaudhari.
The tensions in Ladakh between China and India resumed last May. Following several conflicts between both countries’ military units in the area of Pangong Lake, Beijing and New Delhi increased their military presence on the border.
The sides agreed to withdraw troops from the LAC in February, but the situation once again escalated as both countries resumed deployment of troops near the line in September. China has several times since then accused India of provocative behavior on the border, while New Delhi has rejected all such claims as groundless.
As per media reports, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is deploying the first squadron of the S-400 air defense missile system in the Punjab sector. “The first squadron is being deployed in the Punjab sector. The batteries of the first squadron would be capable of taking care of aerial threats from both Pakistan and China,” government sources told ANI.
- Via Sputnik News Agency
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