As the delivery of Russian-made S-400 missile systems continues smoothly, the Indian Defence Ministry has said their induction will “significantly enhance” the air defence capability of the nation.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit India for a bilateral meet with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 6. Foreign and defense ministers of the two countries will take part in a 2+2 high-profile meeting.
All five mobile squadrons of the highly-automated S-400 systems under the $5.43 billion contract signed with Russia in October 2018 will be progressively delivered by 2023. One batch of Indian technicians completed training on how to operate the systems in July this year while another is in the process of wrapping up its training.
Threat of U.S. Sanctions
The threat of sanctions under Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) against India for buying S-400s does not loom large. U.S. Senators and India Caucus Co-Chairs Mark Warner and John Cornyn urged U.S. President Joe Biden to waive these sanctions, arguing that India was an important ally and that its purchase of Russian equipment was declining. Warner and Cornyn added that the FY19 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) allows the President to issue a sanctions waiver if doing so is in the national interest and if it would not affect U.S.’ national security, its military operations and compromise its defense systems.
India added, “Government is aware of all developments that may impact procurement of Defence Equipment. Government takes sovereign decisions based on threat perception, operational and technological aspects to keep the Armed Forces in a state of readiness to meet the entire spectrum of security challenges. The deliveries are as per contractual timelines.”