Amidst the ongoing threat from China and Pakistan, India is planning to deploy Russian S-400 missile defense system by June 2022. The S-400 is one of the most lethal defense systems in the world with the capability of detecting and destroying missiles and aircrafts in the air.
The S-400 radar has the capability to detect stealth fighters such as F-35s, which is one of America’s most advanced defense systems. “Presently, India is pursuing an extensive military modernization effort encompassing air, ground, naval and strategic nuclear forces,” Lt-Gen Scott Barrier, director of U.S. Defence Intelligence, told the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee.
In 2021, India expanded its operations to develop its own ballistic, hypersonic cruise and air defense missile capabilities conducting multiple tests. On the geo-politics front, India has long standing defense relationship with Russia and has maintained a neutral stance on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Despite USA’s warnings against its procurement, India started importing S-400 defense system in December 2021. Under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), the US can sanction countries for buying Russian weapons that Washington considers detrimental to its national security. Case in point is Turkey. The country is a NATO ally, but was still penalized by the US administration over its S-400 deal under CAATSA..
The US administration is preparing a military financing of USD 500 million to India so that it reduces its dependence from Russia for procuring military equipments. However, it is not clear what weapons would be included in the offer.
India is dependent on Russian military for a long time, and the S-400 is its latest acquisition. In 2018, India signed a deal worth USD 5 billion with Russia to purchase five units of the S-400 air defense missile systems.