New Delhi: Amid the Ukraine war and sanctions, Russia has begun delivering the second squadron of S-400 advanced surface-to-air missile defence system to India, ahead of schedule, officials said.
By end of this month, the delivery of the critical system will be completed and thereafter it will be deployed.
The first squadron of the S-400 system arrived in India in December 2021 and has been deployed on the Punjab border to thwart any air strikes from both Pakistan and China.
India has procured five S-400 systems from Russia through a $5-billion deal signed in October 2018.
All the five units of the S-400 system, which can take down a hostile aircraft or missile at a range between 40km and 400km, are expected to be operational by 2022.
The S-400 system is capable of tracking, engaging and addressing the threat of Chinese or Pakistani fighters the moment they take off from air bases. The system can track multiple targets at multiple ranges and neutralise them simultaneously.
India decided to upgrade its military infrastructure when the country was locked in a major faceoff with China along the Line of Actual Control in July 2020. The threat of two-front war – from China and Pakistan – made India go for large scale arms deals and Russia is still one of India’s largest arms suppliers.
There were apprehension on delay in delivery of critical weapon system after Russia’s war with Ukraine. However, with delivery of the second squadron of S-400 system, India is hopeful of getting other military capabilities.
Earlier this month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov visited India and had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar and apprised them about the ongoing crisis in Ukraine while discussing bilateral ties.
Lavrov and Jaishankar held discussions over Russia’s crude oil offer, rupee-ruble payment, ongoing arms deals, Ukraine crisis, and the situation in Afghanistan and Iran.