Fact in Focus – S-400
One particular piece of military technology, the S-400 has dominated much of the discussions in the Indian space for the past week.
What is the S-400?
- The S-400 is an advanced long-range surface to air missile (SAM) developed by the Russian Federation to shoot down aircrafts and missiles upto a maximum range of 400 kms.
- It is said by several independent defense analysts and the Russian military as the world s most advanced SAM available.
- It is currently operated by the Russian Federation and has been ordered by the Belarus, China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and India.
Why the controversy?
- India and Russia had signed an Intergovernmental agreement that stated that Russia would supply 5 S-400 regiments to India in a deal worth INR 40,000 crores.
- Russia is under sanctions by the United States, another major defense supplier of India, and payments cannot be processed as the threat of US action under the controversial Countering America s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) had scared away financial institutions.
- The US has, in the past, warned India to not proceed with the deal as it may have serious implications on Indo-US defense ties.
- US is eager to increase its share of Indian defense market and has offered alternative technologies in exchange of the S-400.
Why lies ahead?
India cannot wish away its years of defense co-operation with Russia. Russia has been, and remains to be, one of India s most reliable suppliers even after it was displaced by the US as India s top defense supplier. Apart from the S-400, India is also buying new helicopters, leasing a nuclear submarine and acquiring the AK-203 from Russia.