India is fully prepared to buy extremely potent – the S-400 Missile Defense Systems. Russian President Vladimir Putin is reaching India this week and it is being speculated that both countries can announce the deal during Putin’s visit. EurAsian Times analyses why India is hell-bent on purchasing the S-400 Air Defense Systems, despite continued US pressure and persistence? Secondly what impact will the S-400 systems create on arch-rivals Pakistan?
As it was reported earlier, the US does not want India to go ahead with the S-400 this deal with Russia. In the “two-plus-to-one” meeting in New Delhi on September 6 last month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US Defense Secretary James Mattis met Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. It is being said that due to this deal, there will be a threat of economic sanctions of the US on India, but New Delhi is just not relenting.
S-400: What makes it so special?
The S-400 is considered the most effective air defence system in the world. Russia’s official news agency Sputnik says that before President Putin’s visit to India, the Cabinet Committee on Security headed by Narendra Modi approved the purchase of five S-400 air defence systems for more than $ 5 billion from Russia.
The USA passed the Countering America’s Advisers Through Securities Act (CAATSA) Act against Russia in August 2017 for alleged Russian intervention in the presidential election of 2016. This law was passed by the US to punish the Russian government. CAATSA has been effective since January 2018. India wants US exemption from this law in its relations with Russia.
This law of the United States prohibits countries who deal with arms in Russia. The US recently passed the US National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which gives the Trump Administration an exemption under the CAATSA to those countries whose defence relationship with Russia is very old.
S-400 is mobile and can be deployed within five to 10 minutes as soon as the order is received. The S-400 is comparable to the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System (THAAD) of the US. The Almaz-Entente Group, which manufactures the S-400, says that the maximum range of 40N6E is 400 kilometers and it can distinguish its target at a height of 30 kilometers.
Direct impact on Pakistan
Is Pakistan’s anxious after India decided to purchase the hight capable S-400 systems from Russia? In response to this question, a senior defence expert that EurAsian Times talked to said “It is very worrisome for Pakistan. After the S-400 arrives, India can literally control the airspace of Pakistan, especially the bordering regions.
The defence expert also stated that India started to procure weapons from the United States, and in response, defence relations between Pakistan and Russia gradually started to grow. India feared that Pakistan would also demand S-400 from Russia (despite being financially unstable) and thus laid a condition that Delhi will only go ahead with the S-400 deal if Moscow assures that S-400 will never be supplied to Pakistan.