India is aggressively moving towards improving it’s defence capabilities and is keenly awaiting the S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile systems from Russia. India now wants Russia to speed up the delivery of S-400 air defence systems and become the fourth operator of the potent missiles after Russia, China and Turkey.
India has asked Russia to speed up the delivery schedule of the advanced S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile systems. The missile system with its tremendous technology of detecting, tracking and destroying hostile strategic bombers, jets, spy planes, missiles and drones at a range of 380-km can prove very vital for the Indian military.
The deal for the delivery of the five squadrons of S-400, under the $5.43 billion (Rs 40,000 crore) deal was signed in October 2018. The issue regarding faster delivery according to sources will be discussed in the 19thIndia-Russia intergovernmental commission on military and military-technical cooperation (IRIGC-M&MTC) to be held in Moscow on Wednesday.
Apart from the faster delivery demand, India’s lease of an Akula-1 nuclear-powered attack submarine under the over $3 billion deal signed in March this year as well as a reciprocal military logistics pact will also be among the issues to be discussed in this intergovernmental convention.
The Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is likely to visit the production facilities of S-400 systems at St Petersburg on Thursday which indicates the importance that New Delhi attaches to the S-400 missiles.
Sources have also indicated that the first instalment of 15% (Rs 6,000 crore) for the S-400 deal got delayed by several months. But it has now been paid. Hence India has urged Russia to quicken the delivery schedule.
What makes S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile systems so special?
The S-400 squadrons will come equipped with missiles with an interception range of 120, 200, 250 and 380-km. It is also equipped with advanced battle-management systems of command posts and launchers.
The S-400 also has long-range acquisition and engagement radars to target invaders easily. Apart from all these features, the missile system is also equipped with all-terrain transporter erector and launcher vehicles.
The Indian Air Force is planning to deploy the S-400 systems on the borders with Pakistan and China to shoot down aerial threats before they come close to Indian airspace. A large credit for this goes to the possibility to load as many as 128 missiles per battery during.
Another feature of this missile system is that it can even intercept intermediate-range ballistic missiles with a velocity of 4,800 metres per second.
Will deals with Russia affect the relations between India and the U.S.A.?
The US President has delegated his powers through CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) to ban 39 Russian entities. The major objective of the sanction is to discourage exports of Russian defence equipment.
Although India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar during an official tour of U.S.A stated that ‘We would not like any state to tell us what to buy or not to buy from Russia any more than we would like any state to tell us to buy or not buy from America.’
Still, if CAATSA comes into the effect, it will directly impact India’s defence ties with Russia. The Indian government would be hoping that the U.S. government will put their international, strategic, defence and business bilateral relationship above its long-brewing enmity with Russia.