India has started work on the deployment of the Russian-made S-400 Triumf advanced surface-to-air missile defense system, with the first unit to be made operational in April, local media reported on Monday.
The five units will be deployed to deal with the Chinese threat, The Hindustan Times reported.
The two countries have been locked in an intense stalemate for two years along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the de facto border between China and India on the territory of Ladakh in the disputed Himalayan region of Jammu and Cashmere. Tensions skyrocketed in June 2020 after at least 20 Indian soldiers and four Chinese soldiers were killed in a border clash in the region.
Although the situation has calmed down after several rounds of talks, the two sides have yet to reach a resolution and have increased military deployments along the border.
The five units of the S-400 system, which can shoot down a hostile aircraft or missile at a range of between 40 and 400 kilometers (25 miles and 248 miles), are expected to be operational by next year, The Hindustan reported. Times citing local officials. as told.
Specter of US sanctions
In 2018, India and Russia signed a $5.5 billion contract for the S-400 system, putting India at risk of sanctions from the United States.
The United States has long tried to dissuade countries from buying military equipment from Russia, threatening them with punitive action under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which it has used against Turkey, Iran, North Korea and Russia.
Despite warnings from Washington, New Delhi went ahead with the purchase, arguing that it has strategic ties to Russia and the United States.
Turkey also went ahead with its purchase of S-400s, rejecting the threat of US sanctions and saying the missiles are a matter of national security.
US President Joe Biden’s sanctions policy coordinator, James O’Brien, told House of Representatives lawmakers last week that the United States does not want India to buy the S-missile defense system. 400 to Russia, according to the media.
He also said Washington must consider important geostrategic circumstances in response to Biden’s growing demand to exempt India from CAATSA.