India to induct Russian S-400 missile systems
India will begin inducting the first squadron of the advanced S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile systems from Russia from October 2020 onwards, with all the five squadrons slated for delivery by April 2023. Junior Defence Minister Subhash Bhamre said in Lok Sabha: “The S-400 systems will provide a very capable air defence coverage to vulnerable areas/vulnerable points.” India had inked the $5.43 billion (Rs 40,000 crore) contract for the S-400 systems with Russia on October 5 last year. As for the looming threat of US financial sanctions over the S-400 deal under CAATSA (Countering America's Adversaries through Sanctions Act), which seeks to prevent countries from buying Russian weapons or Iranian oil, Bhamre said the Indian government was “aware of all developments that may impact” procurement of weapon systems. With the S-400 systems, which can detect, track and destroy hostile strategic bombers, jets, spy planes, missiles and drones at a range of 380-km, India plans to boost its air defence coverage along the unresolved borders with China and Pakistan as well as around cities like New Delhi. The S-400 contract is among the largest-ever defence deals inked with Russia. The other big deals include the ones for 272 Sukhoi-30MKI fighters (over $12 billion) and INS Vikramaditya ($2.33 billion for the aircraft carrier and another $2 billion for 45 MiG-29Ks to operate from its deck).