Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in India to meet Narendra Modi for an annual summit on Monday. After their talks, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardan Shringla informed that from Russia S-400 Air Defence Systems supplies began this month. Despite the risk under CAATSA, this deal strengthens the bilateral relationship between the two countries.

India’s Call for the Procurement of S-400

In October 2018, India signed a deal with Russia on the purchase of five S-400 regiments for $5.43 billion. Developed by Almaz-Antey, this advanced long-range surface-to-air missile system can track and launch missiles to multiple targets up to a range of 400 kilometres. According to IAF Chief BS Dhanoa, this system is “like a booster dose for the IAF”. Even during the covid pandemic, IAF teams received training on its usage from Russia. As expected, the supplies of S-400 missile systems began this month. To secure the safety of India mainly from Pakistan and China, the missile system will possibly be first deployed at a location near the western border.

S-400 Missile System - Image 01

S-400 Missile System – Image 01

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S-400, a Game-changer

According to the Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the S-400 Triumf is “capable of engaging aircraft, UAVs, cruise missiles, and has a terminal ballistic missile defence capability”. Several other countries including Saudi Arabia and Belarus showed interest in buying this missile system. However, it is already deployed in Russia, Algeria and China. India is likely to deploy the S-400 squadrons near the western border and the border areas with China protecting India’s national security against these two growing threats.

S-400 Missile System - Image 02

S-400 Missile System – Image 02

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Defence Deal Strengthens the Bilateral Relationship

In New Delhi on Monday, Putin’s first in-person meeting with Modi eyeing the defence deal is likely to strengthen the bilateral relationship between the two countries. Shringla said, “the fact that Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to visit India for our annual summit is an indication of the importance he attaches to the bilateral relationship and his personal rapport with PM Narendra Modi.” Both parties inked 28 agreements and had talks on political and defence cooperation. On talking about enhancing trade and investment, Shringla added “this year, we’ve noticed an encouraging trend of growth in our trades compared to last year. Both sides are looking forward to the continued increase in trade and investment trajectory.”

S-400 Missile System - Image 03

S-400 Missile System – Image 03

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Risk of US sanctions under CAATSA

Any country engaging in bilateral trade with Russia, North Korea and Iran will come under the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” (CAATSA). Despite this act, India finalized the deal with Russia and triggered the U.S. to impose sanctions on India. Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov already praised India’s deal of S-400 with Russia. He said, “We witnessed attempts on the part of the United States to undermine this cooperation & to make India obey the American orders.” India’s great ally the U.S. however has not decided yet on any waiver for India.

S-400 Missile System - Image 04

S-400 Missile System – Image 04

S-400 Missile System - Image 05

S-400 Missile System – Image 05

S-400 Missile System - Image 06

S-400 Missile System – Image 06