India signed deal to procure high-end S-400 air defence system from Russia in October 2018 for $5.4 billion

Despite pressure from the U.S. against proceeding with a purchase of Russian missile defence systems, India has already paid for 15% of the total cost, an Indian media report claimed on Friday. 

New Delhi paid $850 million to Moscow for S-400 batteries last September, the daily Hindustan Times reported, citing anonymous sources familiar with developments.

In October 2018, the two countries signed a deal for the sale of five sets of high-end air defence systems with a total cost of $5.4 billion.

Russia has said it would begin delivery by 2020, with plans for New Delhi to receive the final batch by 2025, at the earliest.

However, the two countries are exploring alternative modes of payment to avoid U.S. sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.

"There had been some concerns about the delivery schedule for all the five systems being delayed to 2025. But with the payment having been made, the first system is expected to be delivered in 16 to 18 months," the newspaper quoted one persons involved in the process.

The purchase of the S-400 by India from Russia has ruffled feathers in the Donald Trump administration, which has on multiple occasions cautioned New Delhi against such a deal.

The Trump administration said it was ready to help India's defence needs with the latest technologies and equipment, but that New Delhi's purchase of long-range S-400 missile defence systems would limit cooperation.

India retorted that it was the country’s "sovereign right" to buy weapons and that it would not be told by any country not to buy military hardware from Russia.

Almost 60% of India's defence needs are provided by Russia, according to the report.