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Russia starts delivering S-400 missile systems to India; threat of US sanctions looms

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The S400 is one of the most advanced surface-to-air missile defence systems developed by Russia which is on par with the best in the West. However, the US imposed sanctions on Turkey last year for buying the S400 missiles and is likely to impose similar punitive measures on India.

Russia starts delivering S-400 missile systems to India; threat of US sanctions looms
India will soon receive the complete military hardware S-400 missile system from Russia which will boost the country’s air defence capabilities but could also risk diplomatic and economic repercussions from the US. India had signed a deal with Russia to buy five units of the system for over $5 billion in 2018.
“The supplies of the S-400 air defence system to India have started and are proceeding on schedule,” Sputnik, the Russian news agency, quoted Dmitry Shugaev, director of Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, as saying.
When does India get the S-400s?
The first unit is supposed to reach India by the end of the year through air and sea routes, and parts of the air defence system have already started arriving, sources in the Indian defence industry told news agency PTI.
Why it matters to India
The S400 is one of the most advanced surface-to-air missile defence systems developed by Russia which is on par with the best in the West, say experts.
“It’s precise and it manages to track a very large number of potential targets, including stealth targets,” Siemon Wezeman, senior researcher with Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s arms transfers and military expenditure programme, told Al Jazeera.
It is highly mobile and has a modular setup, which means it can be set up, fired and moved within minutes.
"It can be configured with long-range, semi long-range, medium-range and even short-range weapons systems, depending on how the individual user wishes to configure the S-400," Kevin Brand, military analyst with the Council on Foreign Relations, told Al Jazeera.
S400 also covers an extensive area. It has a radar range of nearly 600km, while its missiles can cover up to 400km, the report said.
Edge over others
With its capabilities, the S400 will give India an edge in air defence in South Asia. According to sources in the Indian defence industry, the missiles would be first deployed in border areas from where it can tackle threats from Pakistan and China along the western and northern frontiers.
Threat of sanctions
The US has tried to deter the deployment of advanced and sensitive technologies from Russia as it has wider implications on political alignments. It implemented the Countering America’s Adversaries Sanctions Act (CAATSA) in 2017 and named Russia, North Korea and Iran as adversaries.
The CAATSA can be used by the US to act against countries that are disturbing international security.
The US imposed sanctions on Turkey last year for buying the S-400 missiles and is likely to impose similar punitive measures on India.
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