Indian Air Force is set to be stronger than ever in the coming few years as Russia is set to start the delivery of the much-awaited S-400 missile systems by 2021, reported news agency Reuters citing a statement from a Russian official. Earlier last month, Russian Deputy Chief of Mission Roman Babushkin had said that the delivery of all S-400 air defence missile systems will be completed by 2025. He had also updated on the status of orders saying the production of S-400 missiles meant for the delivery to India has already started. The S-400 missile systems are expected to be one of the points for discussion on External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar’s visit to Moscow next month for a trilateral summit including China.
Indian defence forces have been betting on the S-400 air to missile system which has a range of 400 kilometres. It can reportedly shoot down up to 80 targets simultaneously with a special ability to strike two missiles at each target. The surface-to-air defence system will enable the air force to attack adversaries’ missiles in advance. India had signed a deal worth $5 billion with Russia to purchase the ambitious missile system during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s tour of India in 2018. China, which poses a direct threat to India’s border security has already received the second consignment of S-400 from Russia and hence the acquisition is critical for India’s national security.
The missile defence system deal came under the dark clouds of sanctions from the United States which had introduced multiple sanctions on Russian firms. The United States had introduced Countering American Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) to carry out political and economic embargoes on firms and nations involved in business with Russia, Iran and North Korea. The act was brought in especially to prevent Russia from earning defence deals from the major defence powers in the world. However, Turkey, a NATO member disobeyed the threats from the Trump’s administration by acquiring the S-400 missiles system.