India had signed a deal with Russia for the advanced system in 2018

A Russian official has announced his country has begun delivery of the S-400 surface-to-air missile system to India, media reports said on Sunday.

India had signed a deal with Russia for the advanced system in 2018, despite warnings from the US that the purchase would attract sanctions. The S-400 uses multiple types of surface-to-air missiles to shoot down aircraft, cruise missiles and even some types of ballistic missiles.

Dmitry Shugaev, director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC), announced the news on the sidelines of the Dubai Air Show.

“The supplies of the S-400 air defence system to India have started and are proceeding on schedule,” Shugaev said.

News agency ANI reported that the S-400 systems have started reaching India. ANI claimed the first S-400 systems would be deployed at a location on the western border, from where it can tackle airborne threats from both Pakistan and China.

Both the previous Donald Trump administration and Joe Biden dispensation had been warning India that proceeding with the S-400 purchase would invite sanctions under provisions of the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). CAATSA is a legislation that provides for sanctions to be imposed on companies in other countries trading with entities in Russia, Iran and North Korea.

The US had imposed sanctions on China in 2018 for purchasing the Su-35 fighter and S-400 from Russia. China was the first export buyer of the S-400. Turkey also faced sanctions for deciding to continue with the purchase of the S-400.

In recent years, a number of US lawmakers have argued that the US should grant India a waiver on the S-400 deal given New Delhi's involvement in the Quad.

Bolton Takes Tough Life

Last week, John Bolton, who briefly served as national security adviser to Trump, wrote an article warning of the risk of India proceeding with the purchase of the S-400.

Bolton wrote in The Hill that India's purchase of S-400 risked "compromising America’s stealth technology or jeopardising seemingly mundane but often critical issues of interoperability among national militaries".

Bolton wrote it was “unfathomable in why India would acquire the same system China was buying, risking that Beijing’s cyber warriors, perhaps exploiting Moscow-inserted back doors, could cripple their defences in a crisis”. Bolton argued Washington D.C. should set stringent conditions on granting India a waiver such as “an agreed-upon timeline and metrics to reduce Indian purchases of sophisticated Russian weapons systems, regular Quad consultations on meeting these targets and more extensive politico-military planning for Indo-Pacific threats, thereby shaping future procurement requirements”.

Bolton even argued in favour of a partnership like the recent AUKUS arrangement involving the US, UK and Australia. “America, Japan, Australia and others also could offer opportunities for defence cooperation with India along the lines of the AUKUS project on nuclear-powered submarines, to enhance India’s own domestic weapons productions,” Bolton wrote.