The first unit of S-400 Triumf advanced surface-to-air missile defence system, which India bought from Russia through a $5 billion worth of deal in October 2018, would be made operational in April this year, Hindustan Times reported.
According to the Indian newspaper, New Delhi has also started work on deploying the missile system in in-depth areas of the country to tackle the apparent threats from China.
It added that the incumbent Indian government led by the Bhartaya Janta Party (BJP) was keeping quiet on such a matter. The paper, while quoting sources, said that “all five units will be deployed in in-depth areas to tackle the threat from China.”
Last month, Asian News International, an Indian news agency, had said the first squadron of the missile system was being deployed along Pakistan's border in the Punjab sector that would be able to counter “aerial threats from Pakistan and China.”
India has bitter relations with Pakistan and China. India and China's armies are locked in a stand-off across the 597km-long Ladakh Line of Actual Control (LAC) since May 2020.
Moreover, Delhi’s decision to revoke the autonomous status of the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir has damaged ties with Pakistan.
In reaction to Delhi’s deal, the Foreign Office had warned that the sale of the Russian S-400 missile system to India could destabilise the region. It had warned that it could lead to a renewed arms race in the region.
James O’ Brien, US President Joe Biden’s nominee for the State Department’s coordinator for sanctions policy, told the Senate Foreign Committee last Wednesday, that Washington’s decision on whether to sanction India or grant a waiver would be done only after weighing important geostrategic considerations in relations to China.
The paper further read that the Indian government has assured the US that the acquisition of the Russian S-400 system was in its “national interest as it is faced with a belligerent PLA all along the 3,488km-long LAC.”
Already, advance consignments of two S-400 systems have arrived in India from Moscow and work is on to assemble the systems and the radars by Indian teams trained in Russia, it added.
According to experts, the S-400 system was one of a kind with a powerful radar at the heart of the offensive air defence system. It could track multiple targets at multiple ranges and neutralise them before the adversary’s fighter, bomber or missile, pose a threat, using anti-missiles with varying ranges.