New Delhi: ‘S-400 air defence missile systems will be delivered to India in strict accordance with the schedule’, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov assured. Speaking to Rossiya-1, Borisov said, “The advance payment has been received and everything will be delivered in strict accordance with the schedule, within about 18-19 months.”
India had signed a USD 5.43-billion deal with Russia for the purchase of five S-400 systems during the 19th India-Russia Annual Bilateral Summit in New Delhi on October 5 last year for long-term security needs.
A couple of months ago, the US has put forth suggestions for India to look for alternatives to the S-400 missile system, as transactions with Russia risk triggering CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act). Besides, India was also resented with an offer of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) and Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3) missile defence systems by the US as an alternative to S-400.
Earlier, a top Pentagon official also stated that America is willing to build a “much deeper and broader relationship” with India. Therefore, the US discussed a potential missile defence collaboration with India.
Notably, the United States is the second-largest arms supplier to India. It has already recognised India as a “major defence partner”, a status that which commits the US to facilitate technology sharing with India.
In 2018, the US granted India Strategic Trade Authorisation-1 (STA-1) status. India is the only South Asian country to get STA1 status and third Asian country after Japan and South Korea. The status eases India’s defence procurement from the US. Last year, India and the US signed the COMCASA (Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement) to facilitate interoperability between the two militaries and sale of high-end technology.