The US House decision to not impose sanctions on India for purchasing S-400 missile systems from Russia has come as a big relief.
After New Delhi’s purchase of the S-400 air defence system, there was a threat of US sanctions but the Indian Government had always been confident of bypassing these. It has been made possible now with the US House of Representatives passing a legislative amendment waiving of any punitive sanctions on India under CAATSA.
The S-400 is a mobile long-range, surface-to-air missile system which is considered one of the most lethal in the world. It can take down multiple targets up to a range of 400 km; be it fighter jets, bombers, cruise and ballistic missiles or drones. With four different kinds of missiles it has beyond visual range capabilities. It can engage multiple targets, which includes tracking of 160 objects in a 600 km range and hit 72 targets up to 400 km.
Russia has made it clear that the war in Ukraine and sanctions on Moscow will not impact the deliveries to India. While S-400 deal will not attract sanctions there is a long list of pending military deals with Russia.
India and Russia signed a military tech cooperation agreement 2021- 2031 during the maiden 2+2 dialogue in December 2021 aimed at bolstering defence ties over the next decade. Orders for military platforms worth over $9 billion are at stake for India.
The Indian Army’s requirement of assault rifles was expected to be met by the production of 6.71 lakh AK 203 rifles to be manufactured in Korwa, Amethi, in Uttar Pradesh, as part of a joint venture with Russia but the Make in India project faced delays. The wait is over as all hurdles have been cleared.
In 2019, India signed a $3-billion deal with Russia for leasing a nuclearpowered submarine. The Chakra III, Akula class submarine is expected to be delivered by 2025 for a period of 10 years. This will be the third nuclear submarine India will take on lease from Russia, the other two being in 1988 for a period of three years and then in 2012 for 10 years.
The deal between Russia’s state-run arms exporter Rosoboronexport and Goa Shipyard Ltd was signed in 2018. According to the terms and conditions, two frigates for the Indian Navy worth $1 billion are to be manufactured in Russia and the other two in Goa. The delivery of the two frigates was supposed to start within four years of signing of the contact, which means by the end of 2022.
In July 2020, at the peak of its military tussle with China in Ladakh, India approved the purchase of 12 Su30 MKIs and 21 MiG 29 fighter aircraft and an upgrade of the existing fleet of the Russian 59 MiG 29s worth Rs 18,148 crore. While negotiations were said to be on, the US has claimed India has cancelled the orders of the MiG 29 from Russia. However, there has been no response from Indian on the claims made by US.
In July 2021, Valeria Reshetnikova, spokesperson for the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, had said that Russia sent a commercial offer and a tender request for the aircraft. The India-specific CAATSA waiver has removed the Sword of Damocles hanging over all these projects