Russia has allayed any fears surrounding the delivery of the lethal S-400 air defence systems to India, due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus, which had its origins in China, whose similar deal for the missiles with Moscow was suspended, a month ago.
Beijing, which had received the first batch of the S-400 missiles in 2018, saw Moscow suspend further deliveries with no set-date in mind, which according to Chinese press reports, was due to Russia’s concern of the deal coming in the way of the PLA’s anti-pandemic actions.
This comes on the back of President Vladimir Putin’s homeland earlier accusing Beijing of spying, despite the nations enjoying considerable good relations with each other.
However, Indian Ambassador to Russia Venkatesh Varma extinguished all rumours over a similar falling off of the $ 5.43-billion deal signed with Russia during the 19th India-Russia Annual Bilateral Summit in 2018 at New Delhi, which saw India purchase five S-400 missile defence systems for their long-term security needs.
“The S-400 will be on schedule. The coronavirus will not be affecting the delivery of the S-400.” Varma said
The S-400 air defence systems, which is considered one of most advanced of its kind even for the ilk of the Russians, can destroy targets at a distance of up to 400 kilometres, at a height of up to 30 kilometres. The timely arrival of the missiles is viewed to give the Indian Air Force a major combat edge over China and Pakistan.
This goes in tune with former Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal (retd) BS Dhanoa, who said that the S-400s coupled with the Rafale jets acquired from France will offer the country a significant strategic advantage in aerial combat with the Chinese in the mountainous Tibet region and will also target down Pakistani aircraft inside Pakistan’s own territory and not only when they enter the Indian turf.
“Rafale jets along with S-400 missile defence systems will give the Indian Air Force (IAF) a major combat edge in the entire region and that India’s adversaries will think twice before starting a war with it,” said Dhanoa.
Defence Industry cooperation is one of the key spheres, which will be addressed between Russia and India at the upcoming India-Russia bilateral summit, which is set to cover all issues of politics, economic, trade, energy.
According to Varma, India’s military arsenal could be set for an even further boost if it were to successfully clinch a contract with Russia to manufacture its Kamov Ka-226 helicopters, in the future, most likely next year.
“There are still some technical discussions regarding indigenisation of production in India of the Kamov 226 helicopters. We hope that these discussions will be successful soon and therefore we will then go to the next stage of the signing of the contract for the production of Kamov 226,” said Varma
In 2018, despite Washington’s pressure and the threat of sanctions, New Delhi went ahead and signed the deal to acquire the deadly S-400 missile system from Russia. The S-400 is comparable to the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System (THAAD) of the US but most of the experts rank it as the best defence systems in the world.
Penned By Mansij Asthana