S-400 missile systems agreement

India and Russia signed a $5.43 bn deal for five S-400 Triumf missile systems. Deliveries will begin in 24 months, which is end 2020.

The deal was signed during October 2018 visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to India. The deal has once again made Russia India’s biggest defence partner.

The two countries have also set a target of $30 billion bilateral trade by 2025.

What is the significance S-400 deal?
S-400 Triumf missile systems are intended to act as a shield against incoming ballistic missiles. S-400 Triumf  of Russia is called SA-21 Growler by NATO. It is considered as one of the most effective shields, even effective than the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence system developed by the US.

What does S-400 system include?
The S-400 system integrates autonomous radar, detection and targeting systems. It is mobile system and can be deployed within five minutes. It is capable of firing three types of missiles to create a layered defence.

It can simultaneously track 100 airborne targets and engage six of them at the same time. It can engage all types of aerial targets including aircrafts, missiles within a range of 400 km, at an altitude up to 30 km.

The S-400 was made operational for defending Moscow in 2007. It was deployed in Syria and also in the Crimean peninsula.

Why does India need it?
The S-400 can play a crucial role in acting as shield.  Beijing also signed a deal with Moscow in 2015 to buy six S-400 systems, and the deliveries for the same began in January 2018.

What is the US reaction to the deal?

This deal has been signed when friction between the U.S. and Russia is very high. Moreover, there is deepening defence cooperation between New Delhi with Washington.

The deal may attract sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) law that restricts defence purchases from Russia, Iran and North Korea.

However, according to the provisions of CAATSA, it is payments and not signing of deals that triggers the sanctions. But as per procedure, when a deal is signed usually 10-15% of the contract value is paid in advance.

Can India get waiver from US?
US authorities have clarified that there is no blanket waiver for any country. Waivers are considered under section 231 of CAATSA on transaction-by-transaction basis.

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