India is likely to complete the deployment of the first regiment of the Russian-made S-400 air defense missile system next month, according to Indian military officials, a move aimed at bolstering the country’s air defense capabilities in defiance of the risk of possible US sanctions.
The Saturday, The Hindu, one of India’s leading newspapers, quoted unnamed Indian military officials as saying that the Indian Air Force was likely to complete the deployment of the first regiment of the S-400 Triumf missile system to an airbase in Punjab by February. The officials added that the process of deploying the advanced missile system had begun and it would take at least another six weeks to complete the deployment.
“Transportation of various critical components of the missile systems along with its peripheral equipment to the deployment site is underway,” one of the officials said.
The S-400 entered service with the Russian military in 2007 and is considered Russia’s most advanced long-range anti-aircraft missile system. Capable of engaging targets at a distance of 400 kilometers and at an altitude of up to 30 kilometers, the missile system can destroy aircraft as well as cruise and ballistic missiles. It can also be used against ground targets.
In October 2018, India signed a $5.4 billion deal with Russia to purchase five units of the long-range missile system. The supplies will expose India to punitive action from the United States under the provisions of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), a 2017 law aimed at deterring countries from buying Russian military equipment .
The administration of former US President Donald Trump had warned New Delhi that continuing with the contract could lead to US sanctions. However, incumbent President Joe Biden’s administration has not yet clarified whether it will impose CAATSA sanctions on India for the purchase of the S-400.
In 2020, the United States imposed sanctions on NATO ally Turkey for acquiring S-400 missiles from Russia.
Last month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the S-400 deal between New Delhi and Moscow has very significant significance for India’s defense capability. “The S-400 deal does not just have a symbolic meaning, it has a very important practical meaning for Indian defense capability and the situation is basically in progress. The deal is being implemented,” he had said. at the time.