First squadron of S-400 deployed in Punjab sector: Report
The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Monday first squadron of deployed Russia-made S-400 missile system in the Punjab sector, news agency ANI reported. This will give a boost to country's air defence capabilities.
"The first squadron is being deployed in the Punjab sector. The batteries of the first squadron would be capable of taking care of aerial threats from both Pakistan and China," ANI quoted government a official as saying on condition of anonymity.
Earlier this month, foreign secretary Harsh V Shringla had announced that Russia has started deliveries of the surface-to-air long-range missile system. Shringla’s statement came soon after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to India.
During Putin’s day-long visit, Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov praised the S-400 air defence missile systems deal between his country and India, saying the United States tried to strong-arm India into opting out of the pact but New Delhi went through anyway.
The US, which is also India’s main defence partner, had expressed its disapproval towards the S-400 missile deal but India contended that the negotiations began years before Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) was enacted, Hindustan Times reported earlier.
A purchase agreement was signed in 2015 and a deal worth $4.5 billion was finalised in 2018. The US tried to stop it with counter offers of its rival Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAD) and Patriot systems. It was an offer that came too late.
The US uses CAATSA to bring sanctions against nations that have economic and defence ties to Russia, North Korea and Iran. It used the law to earlier sanction trade partner China and Nato ally Turkey for purchasing the S-400 missile systems.
The US had said in November that it is yet to determine whether it will waive those sanctions with respect to the deal between India and Russia.
The S-400 air defence system was contracted for by India in a deal worth around ₹35,000 crore and five squadrons would be provided to India for tacking air threats from up to 400 km.
The S-400 missile defence system is equipped with four different missiles which can engage enemy aircraft, ballistic missiles, and AWACS planes at 400 km, 250 km, the medium-range 120 km and the short-range 40 km.
IAF officers and personnel have trained in Russia on the system.