NEW DELHI – The decision to purchase Russian S-400 systems was based solely on the merit of the military hardware, India’s foreign minister stated, stressing that national security will never be undermined by objections from foreign states. Despite pressure from Washington to abandon the deal, India is set to procure five S-400 anti-air batteries as part of a $5.4 billion arms sale, RT reported.
Speaking on Thursday to India’s upper house, the Council of States, External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar stressed that New Delhi had made the merits of the purchase “very clear”, and that national security cannot be endangered by objections from foreign states.
“We will not be influenced by other countries on what we do in terms of our national security and defense. If we have committed to the S-400 agreement, which we have, then other countries need to respect that decision,” Jaishankar noted.
The S-400 is Russia’s most advanced long-range air defense system, designed to intercept enemy aircraft and missiles. Washington has threatened to impose sanctions on India and other countries that buy Russian military hardware.
Although the weapons deal has been a point of contention with Washington, Jaishankar said that India enjoys a “durable relationship” with the United States that goes across party divides. A similar deal between Russia and Turkey resulted in a major rift between Washington and Ankara. Turkey has been excluded from the F-35 jet program, after refusing to cancel its S-400 order.