India and Russia- two "Special and Privileged Strategic Partners"- signed a $5.43 billion deal in October 2018, for the delivery of S-400 systems. The S-400s are an advanced mobile air defence missile system, capable of carrying four different types of missiles and destroying a variety of aerial targets from a short-to-extremely-long range, including reconnaissance aircraft and ballistic missiles.
"The deliveries are likely to be made by April 2023," India's Minister of State for Defence Sripad Naik said in parliament on Wednesday, while relaying the threats of the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) if India goes through with the purchase of the world's most powerful air defence systems.
The minister added the government has taken "sovereign decisions based on threat perception, operational and technological aspects to keep the Armed Forces in a state of readiness to meet the entire spectrum of security challenges" despite US pressure to terminate the deal.
CAATSA requires the imposition of certain sanctions on persons and entities that have knowingly engaged in a “significant transaction” with the defence or intelligence sectors of Russia. The US Department of State will determine whether a transaction is “significant” in terms of Section 231 of CAATSA, on a case-by-case basis.
The Foreign Ministry claims that they conveyed the need for the missile defence system to the US, during US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's recent visit to New Delhi.
Russia's Deputy Director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) Vladimir Drozhzhov announced on 8 July that the two countries had found a permanent solution for the mode of payment and that he hoped the first instalment would be made by year's end. Payment for S400s will be made in rubles and rupees under an agreement reached by the central banks of Russia and India.
Last week, delivery of S-400 components to Turkey began, despite US threats to stop training Turkish pilots to operate F-35 aircraft. Moscow and Ankara signed a loan agreement for the delivery of S-400 systems in December 2017.