India, Russia ink $ 5.2 billion deal for S-400 air defence system


New Delhi: India and Russia, in a move that could invite sanctions under CAATSA, have formally inked the $ 5.2 billion deal for S-400 system. The air defence system is expected to be delivered by the year 2020.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is on a two-day visit to India, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday evening, and was personally welcomed by Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj at the airport.

Putin arrived at the Hyderabad House here on Friday to attend the 19th India-Russia bilateral annual summit with Prime Minister Modi. They are slated to discuss a number of key global and regional issues, including the US sanctions on Iranian oil.

The S-400

The Russian S-400 Triumf advanced air defence system became a bone of contention between India and the US, particularly after the latter brought in a new law on August 2, 2017, called ”Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act’ or CAATSA.

This, among other things, imposed new sanctions on Iran, Russia and North Korea. This limited India’s ability to purchase arms and ammunition from Russia since such an act would be tantamount to inviting sanctions from the US.

It also forces India to use a currency apart from the US dollar to set the exchange rate between the rouble and the rupee. India was previously honouring its payments for defence contracts with the US dollar.

The the S-400 Triumf is an advanced surface-to-air missile system, developed by Russia’s state-owned company Almaz-Antey, and can shoot down hostile aircraft and ballistic missiles. It has an estimated range of 250 kilometres and a possible upgrade is speculated to extend it to 400 kilometres.

The S-400 battery has four transporter erector launchers (TEL) which are essentially missile vehicles that can carry and launch missiles. There are four launch tubes in each TEL. The system also includes a fire control radar and a command post.

This enables it to fire surface-to-air missiles and eliminate incoming missile or adversary, thus creating an air defence shield.

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