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TECHNOLOGY

Why S-400 missile system is so important for India? India receives Russian S 400 Missile system

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India recently starts receiving the Russian S 400 missile system after the deal of $5.5 billion that was made in 2018. This system will take the Indian Defence to new heights. the specialty of S 400 is that it can shoot down a plane from 100s of Kilometers. On the other hand, this act of India can trigger its Ally the United States to put sanctions on it. India wants to establish its hegemony in the region. Especially in its all-time rival Pakistan.

What is S 400?

Considered one of the most advanced and potent air defense systems in the world, S-400 Triumf has the capability to protect against almost all sorts of aerial attacks, including drones, missiles, rockets, and even fighter jets except the ICBM Inter Continental Ballistic missile. The ICBM attack from a very high altitude, so S 400 system is not efficient against it. 

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The system, intended to act as a shield over a particular area, is a long-range surface-to-air missile system. It can simultaneously track up to 160 objects in a 600 km range, and target 72 objects in a 400 km range.

It is much like a greater version of the Iron dome that was used by Israel to stop the incoming rockets from Gaza. As It is mobile and it can be installed anywhere in 10 to 15 minutes. 

Why has India bought them?

Obviously, India bought this to protect itself against its neighbor. Currently, India is on bad terms with both China and Pakistan. India cannot win a war against China, Let alone war on both fronts. Pakistan has over 30 fighting squadrons, with upgraded F 16 and Block 3 version of JF 17. China has 1,500 fighter Aircraft, with 800+ 4 generation Aircraft. Most of the Russian Aircraft like Mig 21 in the Indian Airforce is retiring soon. So India was in desperate need of strengthing its Air defense.

Moreover, China already had a deal with Russia in 2015 for six battalions of S 400. 

A report in February by the think tank Observer Research Foundation mentioned that from the perspective of the Indian Air Force, “there is no alternative system capable of serving its long-range air defense requirements, from the standpoint of either capability or cost”. The S-400, it said, can “constrain the adversary’s air operations even within their own airspace” a capability “unmatched by typical Western systems offered up as analogs”.

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Implications:

 the US wants India to wean off its traditional reliance on Russian defense systems. Russia has been the largest defense partner for India over the decades, a relationship that is changing as India inches closer to the US diplomatically and strategically; imports from the US have gone up, largely at the cost of Russian imports. 

In January, a US Congressional report warned that if India goes ahead with the purchase of the S-400 system, it may lead to sanctions. The report warned that “India’s multi-billion dollar deal to purchase the Russian-made S-400 air defense system may trigger US sanctions on India” under CAATSA.

The US imposed sanctions on Turkey, a longstanding NATO ally, in December 2020 over its purchase of the system.

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