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.
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. 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.
 Why Subramanian Swamy doesn’t want India to use S-400 missiles against China – Jun 13, 2020, The Week