India has announced it will begin receiving S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems from Russia and all the five squadrons of deliveries are expected to be completed by April 2023.
In October, India signed an agreement with Russia to acquire the missile systems for $5.43bn.
In response to a question on the contract in the Lok Sabha, the Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre said: “The deliveries will commence from October 2020 and will be completed by April 2023.”
According to Bhamre, the system can offer air defence coverage to vulnerable areas or points.
Despite warnings from the US, India went ahead to sign the deal with Russia, reported Times of India.
The US has announced sanctions against Russia for its alleged interference in its presidential election in 2016.
Under the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), the US can punish countries entering major defence transactions with Russia or oil transactions with Iran. CAATSA came into effect from January 2018.
Bhamre said the Indian government was ‘aware of all developments that may impact’ weapon systems procurement.
He added: “The government takes sovereign decisions based on threat perceptions, operational and technical aspects to keep the armed forces in a state of readiness to meet the entire spectrum of security challenges.”
However, the Trump administration has the authority under the 2019 US National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to waive CAATSA sanctions with regard to defence deals with Russia if the military hardware costs less than $15m. The S-400 is not only expensive but also an advanced weapon system and does not fall into the criteria.
The CAATSA sanctions are not likely to be imposed on India given the growing consensus in the US Government about India’s role as a strategic partner. The imposition of CAATSA on India may jeopardise the partnership, reported The Diplomat.
S-400 Triumf is a mobile medium and long-range air defence system that can engage and destroy targets such as cruise missiles, stealth aircraft, drones and medium-range ballistic missiles.