India, Russia set to sign S-400 Triumf air defence missile deal
28 May 2018
The Indian Air Force is all set to acquire S-400 Triumf air defence missiles from Russia after the two countries concluded price negotiations on the procurement and the modus of the transaction.
India wants to procure the long-range S-400 Triumf missile systems for the Indian Air Force to tighten its air defence mechanism, particularly along the nearly 4,000-km-long Sino-India border.
Defence officials said the two countries are now trying to find a way out to evade the provisions of a US law that seeks to punish countries and entities engaged in transactions with the defence or intelligence establishment of Russia.
"The negotiations for the missile deal have been concluded. The financial component has been finalised," PTI quoted a top official involved in the negotiations as saying. The deal is expected to be announced before an annual summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin in October 2018, it added.
Both sides are now looking at ways to insulate the deal from the sanctions announced by the US against Russia under its Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). The issue is understood to have figured during Modi's informal talks with Putin in Sochi on 21 May 2018.
There has been mounting concerns in India over the US sanctions against Russian defence majors, including Rosoboronexport, over Russia’s alleged meddling in the US election in 2016.
CAATSA, which came into effect in January 2018, mandates the Donald Trump administration to punish entities engaging in significant transaction with the defence or intelligence establishment of Russia. US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis has already appealed to the Congress to urgently provide waivers to India, saying that imposing sanctions under CAATSA for the S-400 air defence missile deal would only hit the US.
In 2016, India and Russia signed an agreement on the 'Triumf' interceptor-based missile system which can destroy incoming hostile aircraft, missiles and even drones at ranges of up to 400 km. S-400 is known as Russia's most advanced long-range surface-to-air missile defence system.
China was the first foreign country to seal a government-to-government deal with Russia in 2014 to procure the lethal missile system and Moscow has already started delivery of the S-400 missile systems to Beijing. The S-400 is an upgraded version of the S-300 missile systems manufactured by Almaz-Antey systems, which has been in service in Russia since 2007.