India is one of the biggest customers of the Russian defense industry. The S-400 deal is considered the largest in the history of Russian-Indian cooperation. In fact, the largest to date for Russian government arms exporter Rosoboronexport, a subsidiary of Russia’s state-owned Rostec.
Somehow Russia chose to suspend the delivery of the S-400 to China, but on the other hand, promised to deliver the missile system on time to India. According to Chinese press reports, Russia’s actions were motivated by concerns over the anti-pandemic actions of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA). In addition, Vladimir Putin was also angry because China had previously been shown to be spying on Russia, the Eurasian Times reported .
Meanwhile, Russia’s attitude to India differs 360 degrees. Even though the country of Bollywood is in the midst of a corona outbreak and an economic downturn, Russia remains in its position. Likewise, India also insisted on asking Russia to deliver the S-400 Triumph based on the schedule agreed in 2018.
Speaking at the International Military-Technical Forum Army-2020, Indian Ambassador to Moscow Bala Venkatesh Varma said he was confident that the coronavirus outbreak would not affect the delivery of Russian-made S-400 air defense systems to India.
“The S-400 will be delivered according to schedule,” said Varma, quoted by Caspia News quoting Interfax on August 24.
For information, India is currently the third-worst hit country in the world by the COVID-19 pandemic after the United States (US) and Brazil with more than 3.6 million confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins. Following the imposition of a national lockdown in an effort to curb the spread of the disease, India’s economy, which had stalled before the pandemic, has suffered even more as much of the country’s economic activity has been paralyzed.
As soon as India signed a US $ 5.43 billion contract with Russia for the purchase of five S-400 systems, Washington (the second largest defense exporter to India after Russia) threatened India with sanctions under the Against America’s Enemies Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). Also, it offers American missile defense systems in exchange. However, Moscow and New Delhi have found a way to avoid sanctions by making payments in their own currencies.
Adopted in 2017 by the Trump administration, the CAASTA requirements imply any country engaging in “significant transactions” with Russia’s defense and intelligence sectors could automatically be subject to American sanctions.
In her interview with local media at the Army 2020 expo, Maria Vorobyova, the official representative of the Federal Service for Military Technical Cooperation, announced that Russia would not only send the first regimental set of S-400 Triumph air defense systems to India in 2021, but that it was ready to consider. to speed up the next shipment.
“The contract fulfillment schedule has been discussed in detail with Indian partners , and the delivery of the first batch of regiments is expected by the end of 2021,” said Vorobyova, as quoted by Financial Express .
Developed by Russia’s Almaz Central Design Bureau, the S-400 is considered one of the most advanced air defense systems in the world. The S-400 is designed to destroy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, and ground targets. The S-400 can target unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), as well as ballistic and cruise missiles within a range of 400 kilometers and at an altitude of up to 30 kilometers, the report said.
Although doing business with Russia carries risks from the US, India’s military procurement from Russia continues. In July, India’s Defense Ministry approved the purchase of 21 MiG-29s and 12 Su-30 MKI aircraft, worth more than US $ 2.5 billion.