S-400 Air Defence System

India will be able to purchase the Russian S-400 Air Defence System without fear of United States sanctions following a waiver granted under the US National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA).

Further, India may have negotiated an attractive price for the system bringing it below US$ 5.6 billion (Rs. 38,000 crore approx) a price which is lower than the earlier reported price band of Rs. 40,000— Rs. 45,000 crore (US$ 5.8 billion-US$ 6.5 billion approx).

Under the Intergovernmental Agreement signed in 2016 by Russian President Putin and Indian PM Modi, India will be getting five regiments of the S-400 system and will have its officers trained to operate and maintain the system. A delegation from India visited Russia for trials in 2017 and the field evaluation last summer proved a complete success. The technical negotiations have been settled. Now the price is also agreed upon. It will be under US$5.6 billion.

The US senate on Wednesday passed the NDAA bill that seeks to waive sanction against India, Vietnam and Indonesia under the Countering American Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) that threatens secondary sanctions against countries which conduct “significant” business with Russia.

While Indian defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman has refused to acknowledge CAATSA stating that India only follows United Nations sanctions, a problem would have arisen in financial settlements as dollar payments to be made by India to Russia would need to go through the US financial system which could then have blocked the payment.

The source said that early signing of the purchase deal would ensure that India gets its S-400 system within a reasonable time-frame.