S-400 deal – Did Russia ditch India by delaying start of supply to end-2021? China has already placed S-400 missiles system in Tibet aimed at Ladakh

Is it a Heads you win, Tails I lose situation for India vis-à-vis the S-400?

Is it a Heads you win, Tails I lose situation for India vis-à-vis the S-400?
Is it a Heads you win, Tails I lose situation for India vis-à-vis the S-400?

Why Russia delayed the S-400 supply to start from end-2021?

The timeline of 5.6-billion-dollar worth S-400 Air Defence systems deal clearly shows that Russia has ditched India, with China placing the same S-400 missile in Tibet trained at Ladakh. India had ignored the US advanced missile systems’ offer and made the Russian deal in 2018. China, who had already acquired S-400 missiles (literally for free!) in 2014 on adjusting Russia’s old debts, test-fired the S-400 even before India clinched the deal. At that time, China had focused the missiles at Taiwan. Moreover, S-400’s electronics systems are designed by China. Some of us including Dr Subramanian Swamy and Prof. M D Nalapat has said this several times.

PGurus learned that after escalating the tussle with India in July 2020, China placed S-400 missiles with a 400-kilometre range in the Tibet region aimed at the region of Ladakh. As per Monday’s media briefing with the Russian envoy in India, India is going to get these S-400 air defence systems only by the end of 2021 over a span of five years. Earlier, Russia had promised delivery by mid-2020. India has already paid 40% of the deal value (approx. $2.25 billion) of a total of 5.6 billion dollars to Russians[1].

Was India not aware of the fact that S-400 has Chinese electronic components while making the 5.6-billion-dollar deal in 2018, ignoring US offers?

It is a well-known fact that in the S-400, the electronic components are totally designed by the Chinese. Many a time BJP leader Subramanian Swamy had said it publicly, demanding cancellation of the deal with Russia citing their complicity with China[2]. Somehow in a BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) summit in 2018, Russians clinched the S-400 deal with India. This led to protests from the US which was dealing with India in the supply of missile systems like Patriot, THAAD, NASAMS, etc.

So here the question is why Russia delayed the S-400 supply to start from end-2021 over a period of five years when China has already placed the same machines in Tibet pointing at India’s Ladakh region? Was India not aware of the fact that S-400 has Chinese electronic components while making the 5.6-billion-dollar deal in 2018, ignoring US offers?

Brushing aside the US caution to India over the past two years about the possibility of sanctions for procuring weapons from Russia, Ambassador Nikolay Kudashev on Monday said ongoing deals with India for military hardware are “advancing well.” He also said that there is good progress in the procurement of Ka-226 helicopters and production of AK-203 assault rifles supply to India. “As far as current deals are concerned, we are advancing well, including with S-400 supplies. If relevant decisions to start works related to Ka-226 helicopters and AK-203 rifles production is expedited, soon we will see good progress, which is especially important due to deep interests expressed by the Indian armed forces,” said Russia’s India envoy.

On the US threat of sanctions against India, Kudashev said Russia like India, does not recognise sanctions other than those imposed by the UN Security Council. Roman Babushkin, Chargé d’affaires at the Russian embassy, described US secondary sanctions on arms purchases from Russia as “illegal tools of unfair competition and pressure.”

“As far as sanctions are concerned, it’s hard to predict and let the Biden administration first announce publicly its plans and foreign policy vision. We do not recognise or welcome unilateral sanctions as a tool…of interstate or international relations, sanctions other than those applied by the UN Security Council, this is also the case of Turkey. As far as India is concerned, we share the same platform. India’s position is crystal clear – no sanctions are acknowledged other than those applied by the UN Security Council. Whatever the future is, we believe that our ties will stand the coming challenges,” said Babushkin, rebuffing US threats on imposing sanctions.

But now, if the US impose sanctions, India has a problem and Russia does not – they have already collected 40% (2.25 billion dollars) of the S-400 deal. To add insult to injury, Russia gets on what appears to be a front-load deal and then decides to delay the start of supply to the end of 2021 and that too over a five-year-period! China must be laughing at India, having already test-fired and placed the same machines in Tibet pointing towards Ladakh.


[1] Russia rebuffs US threat of imposing sanctions says six-billion-dollar-worth supply of S-400 missile system to India is moving as per scheduleDec 22, 2020, PGurus.com

[2] Why Subramanian Swamy doesn’t want India to use S-400 missiles against ChinaJun 13, 2020, The Week

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  1. India never purchases off-the-shelf defense equipment, always it will be custom tailored. Another thing is India need to balance between two big powers USA and Russia. Most important thing is – Russia knows that China will do reverse engineering.

  2. Indeed, there were reports that Russia might potentially expedite delivery. But that did not happen. The fact is, if Russia wanted to, it very well can expedite deliveries. Look at how quickly it delivered S400s to Turkey after signing the deal. So indeed, it looks like Russia is holding up deliveries..

    India is fast developing its own credible indigeneous missile defense system with its BMD, LRSAM, MRSAM, and Akash missiles.

    What happens to the S400 payment if India cancels the deal? Does India lose all of it? More than the monetary loss, the much bigger setback will be to the strategic relations between the two countries and Russia will immediately turn to Pakistan. Does India want that?

  3. This article gets it completely wrong. Chinese components have made their way into American military equipment. This has been a problem for several years. Subramanian Swamy does not want to talk about that though, does he? Who is he really loyal to? India or America?

    Russia has already stopped delivery of S400 missiles to China. We have used Russian hardware to defend ourselves against Pakistan and China for decades. Why was the US so scared of Turkey buying the S400? Because they know it works. And if they threaten us with sanctions, we should not appease them but stand up for ourselves. Are we really going to abandon our long-term relationships with nations because of threats from the US? Look what happened to former US allies (Iraq, Pakistan, Georgia, Egypt) after the US decided they are no longer needed!

    • Disagree. The article is factual. First, write comments with a real name. Too many crooks in the Khan Market gang, who are seeing their gravy disappearing want to write “comments”.

  4. Fact matter is china already knew the pros and cons of S-400 they have fire and tested
    Edge of weapon is secrecy how it works (ex U.S warn Pakistan of using f-16 in military exercise with China)

  5. Russia has become a junior partner to China and is a partner of their grand communist expansion strategy. We can no longer rely on Russia as a friend against our enemy number one China or trust Russian technology which are prone to be manipulated by China. Moreover, Russia is becoming closer to Pakistan our arch enemy and exporter of terrorism hence we must diversicy our weapons system to make it broad based.

  6. What a stupid and ignorant article..S400 systems are the most advanced as of now ( S500 is already with Russia). American systems don’t stand a chance in front of S400. Syria has proved it already

    • And the fact that it has Chinese made/designed/produced components does not bother you!
      I hope you understand the fact that India paid China indirectly for missiles, that same missiles, India will use to fight the aggression of China.

  7. Watching some Russian language social media videos makes me sick. These ‘tourists’ are swarming all over India. Everyone is inviting them into their homes and spilling their guts about what’s wrong. They will then get offered to stay for free and eat for free. Two days later they will complain about the food, the bathroom and how unhappy Indians are with their government. Most of all, by using their guests phone and wifi, they evade monitoring for weeks on end. If only we know what is being said about Indians in Russian…….

  8. Modi thinks he can win diplomacy by hugging World Leaders. He must know Diplomacy is not like Chaplusi inside BJP. Russia royally fooled India. I think Modi is fearing China a lot. He was frequent traveler to China from 2009 and China made clinching on him. Still Modi not uttered a word called “China” Why? Some fearing on Chinese blackmail. Any CD of Chinese girls massaging?


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