Bilateral International Relations Multilateral Prelims cum Mains

India, Russia sign S-400 missile deal after summit

The News

  • India and Russia concluded the contract for five S-400 ‘Triumf’ missile systems after the annual summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

 

Background

  • In October 2015, India had kicked off plans to acquire the S-400 missile systems.
  • On 15 October 2016, on the sidelines of BRICS Summit, India and Russia signed an Inter-governmental Agreement (IGA) for the supply of five S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems.
  • In April 2018, Russian and Indian media reported a deal was close to being reached.
  • India and Russia reportedly concluded price negotiations.
  • The signing of the final contract was expected during an annual summit meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin in October 2018.
  • The US had announced sanctions against Russia under the stringent law (CAATSA) for its alleged meddling in the American presidential election in 2016.
  • The U.S. had warn that this deal would invoke sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) law, which penalises defence purchases from Russia, Iran and North Korea, as soon as the first payment is made, unless President Donald Trump grants a “waiver.”

 

Highlights of the deals signed

  • In the summit India and Russia inked 8 deals ina variety of sectors excluding the S-400 missile system deal.
  • However, the two sides failed to conclude two other major deals, for stealth frigates and assault rifles, that were reportedly ready but further negotiations were needed.
  • After the summit, they also concluded the contract for the supply of the S-400 long range surface to air missile to India, which is estimated to be priced at $5.43 billion (Rs. 40,300 crore).
  • Deliveries of S-400 will begin in 24 months, at the end of 2020
  • India would pay about 15% in advance, likely through the rupee-rouble mechanism both countries use for trade in their own currencies.

 

Impacts of the deal

USA

  • After the announcement of the deal the U.S. Embassy issued a statement warning that any waiver for the S-400 deal would only be considered on a “transaction-by-transaction basis.”
  • The deal could attract sanctions from the United States.
  • India’s decision to move ahead with the S-400 acquisition could impact future U.S.-India defense deals, including the possible procurement of armed U.S.-made Predator drones or the establishment of joint aircraft production facilities.

Russia

  • With Russia, India had a continuous relationship of defence procurement of seven decades.
  • Negotiations have gone for several years on S-400 with the Russians.
  • India’s firm stand to continue with the deal will strengthen the India-Russia ties.

India

  • The negotiations [for the agreement] preceded CAATSA by a long period of several years.
  • It fulfils a certain defence requirement for India and the government decision is in the national interest as India wants to procure the long-range missile systems to tighten its air defence mechanism as the system is considered vital for India’s air defence shield on Pakistan and China fronts.

 

About S-400 Missile system

  • The S-400 Triumf is an anti-aircraftweapon system developed in the 1990s by Russia’s Almaz Central Design Bureau as an upgrade of the S-300
  • It has been in service with the Russian Armed Forcessince 2007.
  • S-400 is known as Russia’s most advanced long-range surface-to-air missile defence system.
  • It can detect, track and destroy hostile strategic bombers, stealth fighters, spy planes, missiles and drones at a range of up to 400-km and altitude of 30-km.
  • The S-400 uses four missiles to fill its performance envelope: the very-long-range 40N6 (400 km), the long-range 48N6 (250 km), the medium-range 9M96E2 (120 km) and the short-range 9M96E (40 km).
  • The S-400 was described by The Economistin 2017 as “one of the best air-defence systems currently made.

 

About CAATSA

  • The United States passedthe Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) against Russia in August 2017 for reportedly influencing and manipulating the 2016 presidential election process.
  • CAATSA mandates the US administration to punish entities engaging in significant transaction with the defence or intelligence establishment of the countries marked adversaries by USA.
  • Core provisions of the CAATSA, including sanctions on Russian business entities and senior Russian political and business figures, came into effect in January 2018.

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