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Will Russia Ukraine crisis stop India from acquiring its S-400 missile defense system

Despite a warning from the Trump administration that proceeding with the contract could result in U.S. sanctions, India signed a $5 billion deal with Russia in October 2018 to purchase five units of the S-400 air defense missile systems. In 2019, India paid Russia the first instalment of around $800 million for the missile systems.

The S-400 is Russia’s most sophisticated long-range surface-to-air missile defense system. Russia has been a major supplier of arms and ammunition to India.

India’s indigenously developed missile defense system has a maximum range of 70 kilometers. As a result, in addition to S-400, we must find an indigenous alternative with a range of at least 250 km. The XRSAM Missile Defense System is being developed by DRDO as an alternative to the S-400. We must accelerate our efforts so that we can have an alternative and a multi-layered missile defense system within the next 5-6 years.

The crisis has coincided with India’s purchase of the Russian S-400 missile system, for which New Delhi is hoping for a waiver of US sanctions. The delivery of the system, as well as the possibility of a presidential waiver, will be complicated by conflict.

Taking a defiant stance reflective of Moscow’s stance on Ukraine and the current standoff with the West, newly appointed Russian Ambassador to India Denis Alipov stated that threats of US sanctions against India will not affect the two countries’ military-technical cooperation because it is “no one else’s business.”

India launched the deployment of the first regiment of S-400 Triumph surface-to-air missile defense systems last month, with the first unit set to go operational in April. According to Sputnik, the US State Department responded by saying that Washington is in contact with Indian authorities about the possibility of imposing sanctions over the air defense systems.

The envoy recalled that New Delhi had repeatedly stated that the S-400 purchase agreement with Russia is in the interests of its security, that India pursues an independent foreign policy, and that it perceives the pressure placed on it negatively.

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