The Russian S-400s air defence system(Representational image/REUTERS)
The Russian S-400s air defence system(Representational image/REUTERS)

India sticking to S-400 deal with Russia despite threat of possible US sanctions

  • Russia is set to train the first group of Indian military specialists in operating the S-400 and the first batteries are expected by September.
PUBLISHED ON JAN 27, 2021 07:12 PM IST

India is sticking to its guns on the $5.4-billion deal with Russia for S-400 air defence systems despite reports of possible US sanctions, an issue with the potential for becoming an early irritant with the new Biden administration.

India’s decision to acquire the S-400, instead of other air defence systems offered by the West, was based on a thorough evaluation and national security requirements, including already delayed plans to create a ballistic missile defence shield over key cities, people familiar with developments said on condition of anonymity.

The lingering standoff with China in Ladakh has seen India deploy a raft of weapons and systems in the sector, including hardware bought from the US, Russia and France, to strengthen its military deployments.

“India’s strategic interests are supreme and it is for us to decide what weapons we buy and from whom to pursue those interests. If the US has concerns about procurements from Russia, the latter is also upset over military equipment we are importing from the US,” a senior government official said on condition of anonymity.

“We buy platforms factoring in the security threats we face,” the official said, adding the US and Russia understand India’s complex security challenges.

A second official, who too declined to be named, acknowledged India is walking a fine line in defence cooperation with Russia and the US, which are both strategic partners.

“But the more important point is the country’s independent foreign policy and strategic autonomy to decide defence purchases in line with national security interests,” the second official said.

Though India has been procuring US military hardware in growing numbers, including Apache and Chinook helicopters and P-8I maritime surveillance aircraft, about 60% of the inventory of the three services continues to be of Russian-origin.

The US has sanctioned its NATO ally Turkey under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) for taking delivery of the S-400, and this was mainly due to concerns that Western platforms operating in the same environment as the S-400 would provide Russia valuable data on how to defeat those systems, said Vipin Narang, associate professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“The fact that Turkey didn’t escape CAATSA sanctions suggests the US is very concerned about the S-400 system, and it's probably not just junk. India's insistence to take delivery of its first S-400 batteries later this year therefore sets the Biden administration potentially on a collision course on the sanctions question with India,” Narang said.

Russia is set to train the first group of Indian military specialists in operating the S-400 and the first batteries are expected by September.

Air Vice Marshal (retired) Manmohan Bahadur of the Centre for Airpower Studies said no other country, no matter how friendly, can have a veto on India’s defence purchases. “The US is a valued partner and would, rather should, understand India's interests. Washington's geo-political necessities cannot override India's imperatives and one is sure no action would be taken that hurts New Delhi's position,” he said.

There are also concerns that US sanctions, even if seen as a slap on the wrist, will revive old concerns about America’s reliability as a defence partner and bring back memories of punitive sanctions after India’s 1998 nuclear tests that set back several defence programmes, including one to develop the light combat aircraft (LCA). The US had then held back engines to power the LCA.

Narang said it may be “very hard” for the US to apply different standards to India than it did to Turkey, which hosts American nuclear weapons. “If India does not receive a waiver, it is possible the basket of sanctions – over which there is some leeway – may be simply symbolic, and not painful,” he said.

“Applying even symbolic sanctions, it seems to me, would be counterproductive. It would not only fail to deter India from purchasing Russian military equipment, it would likely accelerate it and empower those in Delhi who have been sceptical of the reliability of the US as a defence partner,” Narang said.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
Tewari, one of the 23 leaders who wrote a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi seeking internal reform in the party, addressed the Kerala meeting at the invitation of the Congress’s ally, Indian Union Muslim League.
Tewari, one of the 23 leaders who wrote a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi seeking internal reform in the party, addressed the Kerala meeting at the invitation of the Congress’s ally, Indian Union Muslim League.

After Jammu G23 meet, Tewari hits campaign

By HT Correspondent, Hindustan Tmes, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 03:17 AM IST
  • The meeting came a week after Tewari and other letter writers, the group has been tagged the G23, addressed a meeting in Jammu in honour of retired MP Ghulam Nabi Azad.
Close
In Puducherry, where the party lost power weeks ago, 70 people have hit the ground with the same goal.(PTI)
In Puducherry, where the party lost power weeks ago, 70 people have hit the ground with the same goal.(PTI)

Over 300 people try to gauge mood for Cong in TN, Kerala

PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 03:12 AM IST
  • In Tamil Nadu, the Congress is in alliance with the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham (DMK).
Close
Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu were identified by the Centre as the six regions that have seen a rise in new cases in the recent weeks.(REUTERS)
Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu were identified by the Centre as the six regions that have seen a rise in new cases in the recent weeks.(REUTERS)

6 states continue to record spike in Covid cases: Centre

By Rhythma Kaul, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 01:22 AM IST
  • The observations from the Union health ministry come a day after the country reported the largest single-day increase in new Covid-19 infections in two months.
Close
Union minister Smriti Irani addresses a press conference, in New Delhi. (PTI)
Union minister Smriti Irani addresses a press conference, in New Delhi. (PTI)

‘Women are not pleading, they are leading’: Smriti Irani

By Vinod Sharma, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 08, 2021 12:53 AM IST
  • Smriti Irani says, "I’m the only female politician who’s also recognised by her former vocation. I recognise the bias in that."
Close
Another senior official said on condition of anonymity that the second half of the session, which starts on Monday, may run for just two weeks.(PTI)
Another senior official said on condition of anonymity that the second half of the session, which starts on Monday, may run for just two weeks.(PTI)

2nd half of Budget session may be cut short due to state polls

By Saubhadra Chatterji, Sunetra Choudhury, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 08, 2021 12:40 AM IST
  • An official said that both Houses could meet at 11 am from the second week following the vaccination of eligible MPs.
Close
Bodies of the man and his son were found in the house while the bodies of the three woman were found near the house, the official added.
Bodies of the man and his son were found in the house while the bodies of the three woman were found near the house, the official added.

Five of family found dead in Chhattisgarh

By Ritesh Mishra, Hindustan Times, Raipur
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 12:27 AM IST
  • A suicide note found at the spot said they took the decision because of acute financial distress, an official said.
Close
Parliament in September 2020 approved an Ordinance promulgated in June to improve revenue from the mining sector and the Centre now wants states to carry out these changes too.(REUTERS)
Parliament in September 2020 approved an Ordinance promulgated in June to improve revenue from the mining sector and the Centre now wants states to carry out these changes too.(REUTERS)

Govt plan to take over mine auctions faces opposition from a few states

By Chetan Chauhan, Gerard de Souza, Hindustan Times, New Delhi, Goa
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 12:21 AM IST
  • The changes have been opposed by some states who see it as another attempt by the Centre to take over mining auctions and impose central rules on a state domain.
Close
India must rapidly build and nurture grassroots-based habitat monitoring and governance.(Representational Photo/HT File)
India must rapidly build and nurture grassroots-based habitat monitoring and governance.(Representational Photo/HT File)

India must strive to catch the ecological bus

By Bharati Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 12:16 AM IST
  • A re-invigorated biodiversity management policy is India’s survival strategy. At this point in our development trajectory, we don’t pay any heed to either biodiversity or landscape conservation.
Close
Satellite image of NASA's Fire Information for Resource Management System of forest fires.(Courtesy- NASA)
Satellite image of NASA's Fire Information for Resource Management System of forest fires.(Courtesy- NASA)

Early summer, lack of rain spark fires

By Jayashree Nandi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 12:10 AM IST
  • According to Forest Survey of India’s forest fire alert system, there were 2,317 fire points last year between February 26 and March 7, but the figure rose to 53,211 this time after data from the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (SNPP) was taken into account.
Close
Selvi at the age of 32 rappelled down blindfolded from a 155 feet high rock mountain in a Tamil Nadu village(Representative Image )
Selvi at the age of 32 rappelled down blindfolded from a 155 feet high rock mountain in a Tamil Nadu village(Representative Image )

Woman, 32, mother of two rappels down 155-feet mountain blindfolded in 58 sec

ANI, Kancheepuram
UPDATED ON MAR 07, 2021 11:54 PM IST
The record was entered in the UNICO Book of World Records and was certified by an official adjudicator R. Sivaraman.
Close
The incident took place in Transit Camp Colony of Rudrapur on February 19, 2019, when the boy went missing, Gupta said.(HT file photo)
The incident took place in Transit Camp Colony of Rudrapur on February 19, 2019, when the boy went missing, Gupta said.(HT file photo)

24-yr-old man gets death for rape, murder of 5-yr-old boy

By HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Rudrapur
UPDATED ON MAR 08, 2021 12:56 AM IST
Special Pocso judge Vijay Laxmi Vihan also awarded four years of imprisonment to the father of the accused and three years to his mother for concealing the crime, Vikas Gupta, special assistant district government counsel, said.
Close
A charge sheet against the man was also filed in April 2018, prompting him to approach the Allahabad high court for getting the FIR quashed.(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)
A charge sheet against the man was also filed in April 2018, prompting him to approach the Allahabad high court for getting the FIR quashed.(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)

Every breach of promise to marry doesn’t mean rape: SC

By Utkarsh Anand, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 08, 2021 01:05 AM IST
An SC bench of justices Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud and MR Shah elucidated the legal position while exonerating a 30-year-old man of the rape charge under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code.
Close
HT Image
HT Image

Women are not pleading, they’re leading: Smriti Irani

By Vinod Sharma
PUBLISHED ON MAR 07, 2021 10:57 PM IST
New Delhi: On the eve of the International Women’s Day, union minister for women and child development Smriti Irani spoke to HT on the challenges and opportunities the women have in the country, her role as a minister and the BJP’s battle axe against the Congress
Close
"The state government is taking a series of measures to take women on the path of development and progress," K Chandrasekhar Rao said. (HT File photo)
"The state government is taking a series of measures to take women on the path of development and progress," K Chandrasekhar Rao said. (HT File photo)

Telangana government declares holiday for women employees on Women's Day

ANI, Hyderabad, Telangana
PUBLISHED ON MAR 07, 2021 10:55 PM IST
"Women are competing with men in all the fields and are excelling. Women, who constitute 50 per cent of the population, would do wonders if they were given a chance," Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao said.
Close
Mohammed Muthu Meeran Maraickayar died on Sunday(ANI Photo )
Mohammed Muthu Meeran Maraickayar died on Sunday(ANI Photo )

APJ Abdul Kalam's brother Mohammed Muthu Meeran passes way at 104

PTI, Rameswaram
UPDATED ON MAR 07, 2021 10:48 PM IST
Tamil Nadu deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam conveyed condolences over Mohammed Muthu Meeran's demise.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP