Russia said on Wednesday that it had delivered its most advanced long-range surface-to-air missile defence system, the S-400, to India on time, despite pressure from Washington and sanctions led by the US. Russia said that both Moscow and New Delhi are committed to their national interests.
Russian Ambassador to India Denis Alipov made the comments before a meeting between President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the SCO Summit in Uzbekistan this week. The two leaders are expected to talk about strategic stability, the situation in the Asia-Pacific region, and bilateral cooperation within the UN and G20.
“Despite American pressure, India plans to stick to its national interests, especially when it comes to building up the country’s defensive capabilities. So, we think that the intergovernmental agreements, especially the one about the supply of the S-400 systems here, will be carried out,” he said.
“Both we and our Indian partners want to see our respective commitments, including deadlines, met,” Alipov told the state-run TASS news agency. The S-400 is known as Russia’s most advanced long-range surface-to-air missile defence system. The ‘Triumf’ interceptor-based missile system can destroy incoming enemy aircraft, missiles, and even drones from up to 400 km away.
Russia had started sending out the first group of the missiles in December of last year. The missile system has already been set up so that it can cover parts of the border with China in the northern sector as well as the border with Pakistan.
India signed a USD 5 billion deal with Russia in October 2018 to buy five S-400 air defence missile systems, despite warnings from the Trump administration at the time that doing so could lead to US sanctions under CAATSA.
The Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, or CAATSA, is a strict US law that allows the administration to put sanctions on countries that buy major defence equipment from Russia. This is in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and its alleged meddling in the 2016 US presidential elections.
Russia has been a major source of military equipment for India. Since the west has put sanctions on Moscow, the two countries have been talking about how they can pay each other. Alipov said that the level of partnership and mutual trust between the two countries makes it possible to talk about very promising paths for joint ventures. At the historic summit in December 2021, a plan for military-technical cooperation for the next ten years was approved. The plan calls for advancing the dialogue on a number of large projects.
“We hope that it will be put into practise well. He said that Russia has been and still is India’s top partner in the defence sector. Alipov also said that military-technical cooperation between Russia and India is steadily growing to meet new needs. “Our cooperation in this area is steadily improving in line with the new requirements,” he said. “We see in them a lot of potential for expanding the practise of joint production and advanced research and development.”
Alipov said that the two sides had already started to talk about this in a serious way at the 2019 summit in Vladivostok. At that time, an intergovernmental agreement was signed on the joint production of spare parts and components and maintenance of military equipment made in Russia, with the possibility of offering these services to the markets of third countries. He said that what makes Russian-Indian military-technical cooperation stand out is that both countries are willing to look out for each other’s interests and are very good at adapting to changing conditions.
“It’s a truly time-tested partnership,” he said, adding that Russia is the only country willing to share advanced technologies with India. He said that the two countries had joint ventures and agreements on localising production long before India made it a state policy to work with other countries to get its military-industrial complex to be self-sufficient.
“We are talking about the assembly of T-90 tanks, Su-30MKI fighter jets, and other things. Also, one of our most successful joint ventures for making BrahMos supersonic missiles has entered the markets of third countries with confidence,” he said, adding that Russia is also helping Indian friends follow a path of increasing exports of defence products.