Context:

  • Russian Ambassador to India said that India and Russia are “committed” to completing their contract for the S-400 missile system, due to be delivered to India at the end of 2021 and also that both countries oppose U.S. sanctions on the issue.
  • The S-400 contract is on track for a delivery of the systems despite America’s repeated threat that the $2.5-billion deal could attract sanctions under its CAATSA law.

Relevance:

GS-II: International Relations (Foreign policies affecting India’s Interests)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About S-400 Triumf
  2. Issues with Acquisition of S-400
  3. About India’s acquisition of S-400
  4. About U.S. Objections
  5. Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, CAATSA

About S-400 Triumf

  • S-400 Triumf is one of the world’s most advanced surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems designed by Russia.
  • The system is a large complex of radars, control systems and different types of missiles, with the capability to simultaneously track numerous incoming objects in a radius of a few hundred kilometres.
  • It can employ appropriate missile systems to launch the counter attack and to neutralise the objects with the potential of ensuring a high success rate.
  • It is the most dangerous operationally deployed modern long-range SAM (MLR SAM) in the world, considered much ahead of the US-developed Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD).

Issues with Acquisition of S-400

  • The acquisition of S-400 by countries has taken centre stage in the American diplomacy regarding Russia.
  • U.S. believes that S-400 could access sensitive U.S. military technologies in service with the potential buyers.
  • Russia has also deployed at least two S-400 systems in Syria, which is of much concern to observers who fear the system could contribute to a global conflict breaking out in Syria.
  • Among the countries under pressure from the U.S. to not buy this weapon are India and Turkey.
  • NATO countries objected strongly to reports of Russia giving its systems to Iran and Syria.

About India’s acquisition of S-400

  • Russia had offered its highly advanced Air Defence System to India, which agreed to purchase five of the S-400 Air Defence Systems.
  • Before India, Russia had only sold this system to China even though Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Belarus were eyeing it as well.
  • This is the first time that Russia is providing a different system to India, a departure from its tradition of supplying only attacking weapons.
  • India needs high end weapons for very valid reasons. It is the only country in the world that is flanked by two nuclear armed neighbours– Pakistan and China and has fought wars with both of these countries.
  • India maintains close military relations with both United States and Russia.
  • But over the years, Russia has been the largest supplier of military weapons to India.
  • In 2012-2016, Russia (68%), US (14%) and Israel (7.2%) were the major arms suppliers to India.
  • India is the second largest market for Russia’s defence industry and Russia is the chief supplier of defence equipment to India.
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About U.S. Objections

  • United States has raised concerns of India purchasing S-400 system on two counts:
  • The official count is that US has a legal position where any country that is taking systems or military equipment from their adversaries, the US expects to put sanctions on that country.
  • The other count is that US is planning to put F 16 factories in India and sell drones to it.

Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, CAATSA

  • The Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, CAATSA is a United States federal law that imposed sanctions on Iran, North Korea, and Russia.
  • The Act empowers the US President to impose at least five of the 12 listed sanctions on persons engaged in a “significant transaction” with Russian defence and intelligence sectors.
  • The State Department has notified 39 Russian entities including almost all major Russian defence manufacturing and export companies/entities.

India and CAATSA

  • In 2018, India inked an agreement worth more than 5 billion $ with Russia to procure four S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile defence system, the most powerful missile defence system in the world ignoring the CAATSA act. The U.S. threatened India with sanctions over India’s decision to buy the S-400 missile defense system from Russia.
  • Two oil companies ordered crude oil from Iran for November ignoring CAATSA. The United States threatened India with sanctions over India’s decision to buy oil from Iran.

-Source: The Hindu

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