India’s decision to procure lethal S-400 missile system from Russia will have a serious effect on defence ties: US

The Donald Trump administration has warned that India’s decision to procure the long-range S-400 missile defense system from Russia will have a grave effect on defence ties.

The S-400 is recognized as Russia’s most advanced long-range surface-to-air missile defence system. China was the first foreign buyer to finalize a government-to-government deal with Russia in 2014 to buy the lethal missile system.

After wide-ranging talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin, India and Russia endorsed a USD 5 billion S-400 air defence system deal in October last.

A Senior State Department Official told a group of reporters on Thursday that New Delhi’s decision to purchase S-400 air defence system from Moscow was important, differing with the view that it “isn’t a big deal”.

The official differed with the view that India’s purchasing of S-400 from Russia might not have a repercussion as long as it evolves its military purchase from the US.

“I disagree. The S-400 is significant because of CAATSA sanctions. It’s also significant because of what it prevents, in terms of future high-tech cooperation,” the official said.

The S-400 missile defence system deal could result in US sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) established by the US Congress on arms purchases from Russia.

The official said if India went ahead with its decision to procure the S-400 missile defence system from Russia, it will have serious consequence on the defence ties.

The Trump administration has been very clear that the purchase of advanced Russian technology sends the wrong message to Russia at a time when it continues its offensive, the official said.