When will delivery of ‘gamechanger' S-400 missiles begin?
New Delhi, Jan 2: India finalised the S-400 deal with Russia and inked the pact to procure the air defence systems during Vladimir Putin's visit to New Delhi in October 2018.
India will start receiving the S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems from Russia from October next year and the deliveries will be completed by April 2023, the government said on Wednesday. India inked an agreement with Russia in October last year to procure a batch of the missile systems at a cost of Rs 40,000 crore.
"The deliveries will commence from October 2020 and will be completed by April 2023," Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre said in Lok Sabha while replying to a question on the contract.
India went ahead to seal the deal with Russia not withstanding the US' warnings against it.
"The system will provide a very capable air defence coverage to vulnerable areas/vulnerable points," Bhamre said.
The US had announced sanctions against Russia under the stringent law for its alleged meddling in the American presidential election in 2016 CAATSA, which came into effect in January, mandates the Donald Trump administration to punish entities engaging in a significant transaction with the defence or intelligence establishment of Russia.
Why S-400 missiles are key to India's defence?
Defence and strategic affairs expert Major General PK Sehgal told OneIndia that India was virtually defenceless against the incoming aerial attacks. He said that growing proximity between Pakistan and China, especially in defence matters, has emerged as a major concern for India. Maj General Sehgal reiterated what Air Force Chief BS Dhanoa had said about the S-400 systems that it is indeed a gamechanger.
"When General VK Singh was chief of the Army staff, he had written an open letter to then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that the air defence capability of the country was zero. We were defenceless against air strikes. We needed it to protect against cruise missiles, surface-to-surface missiles, against drones, against UAVs, against helicopters and rockets. We must have a system that is best in the world. It is completely a gamechanger as far as Indian sub-continent is concerned," he told OneIndia.
The reason why Major General PK Sehgal is calling the deal a game changer is because of the multiple intercept missiles the S-400 system can fire. The S-400 supports four different missiles - the very long range 40N6E-series (400 km), the long-range 48N6 (250 km), the 9M96e2 (120 km) and the short-range 9m96e (40 km). It can prioritise the incoming attacks and take action appropriately.
OneIndia News with PTI inputs