Russia has delivered additional systems of the S-400 air defence systems to India, even as its military offensive in Ukraine continues, meeting commitments made when the contract was signed. Sources said that the additional units have arrived recently and more are on the way as per the contract schedule.
The first squadron of the S-400 has already been inducted by the air force and a total of five regiments are on order. Russia had earlier specifically stated that scheduled deliveries of all ongoing contracts would be done on time, despite the severe financial sanctions imposed by the western world. The Covid-19 pandemic also did not have any impact on the delivery schedule.
The first deliveries of the system took place last year, with Russian developers promising that it would give ‘100% air cover’ even in high altitude areas like Ladakh, where border tensions have simmered with China since 2020.
The Russian system is capable of taking down targets from a distance of over 400 km and is technically able to cover most major Chinese airbases in Tibet that are directed towards Eastern Ladakh. China too has got deliveries of the S 400 system and is believed to have deployed some elements in Tibet as well.
The S-400 delivery will add a strong air defence layer for India but is also being closely tracked globally and faces potential US financial sanctions for purchasing Russian equipment. Turkey had faced sanctions by the US for taking delivery of the S 400. US officials have repeatedly said that India has not been given a blanket waiver from such sanctions either.
The S-400 was the biggest defence deal signed between India and Russia in over two decades. The $ 5. 43 billion was inked in 2018, with deliveries scheduled from 2021.