Saturday, 04 December 2021

S-400 air defense systems delivery started says, Russian official

S-400 air defense systems delivery started says, Russian official

Russia has begun delivering the S-400 air defense system to India, a senior Russian official has said ahead of President Vladimir Putin's visit to New Delhi for a planned annual summit.

Dmitry Shugaev, director of Russia's Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, told the state-run Sputnik news service.

The delivery of the S-400 systems to India is going as planned,

Shugaev said without giving further details.

"The supplies of the S-400 air defence system to India have started and are proceeding on schedule,"

There were no official words from the Indian side on the development.

HT had reported last week that the delivery of the first batch of S-400 systems is expected to coincide with Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to New Delhi in December for the annual summit, which will set the stage for the two countries to renew their military-technical cooperation for the next decade.

The two countries had signed a $5.4-billion contract for five S-400 systems during Putin's last visit to India for an annual summit in October 2018. India has in recent months signaled its intention to go ahead with the deal despite the US warning that it could attract secondary prohibition under (CAATSA) the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.

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Several squads of Indian Air Force personnel have been trained in Russia to operate the air defense system that will be used to protect critical cities, strategic installations, and sensitive stretches of the country's borders. Russian officials have said deliveries of all the systems are expected to be completed within five years of signing the contract.

The IAF is expected to be inducted to the first unit of S-400 systems when India is sealed in a border standoff with China, which has deployed two S-400 squadrons at Hotan airbase in Xinjiang Nyingchi airbase in Tibet, across Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh, respectively.

The S-400 is presently in service with the militaries of China and Turkey. In August, the head of Russia's state arms exporter Rosoboronexport, Alexander Mikheev, had said negotiations on supplying the S-400 were underway with seven countries in West Asia, the Asia-Pacific region, and Africa.

Putin is expecting to be in New Delhi in the second week of December for the annual summit, with the two countries looking at December 6 as the most likely date for the meeting. His visit will be preceded by the maiden 2+2 dialogue of India and Russia's defense and foreign ministers in Moscow.

In the summit, the two parties are expected to renew their military-technical cooperation arrangement for 2021-31 and sign several agreements, including the Reciprocal Exchange of Logistics Agreement (RELOS), to allow logistics and support facilities each other's military bases and ports.

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