NEW DELHI – India wants to see a delivery timetable by 2020-2023 for the Russian S-400 missile defense systems.
Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, who heads an official delegation that includes more than 50 businessmen, is expected to hold talks with his Russian counterpart, General Sergei Shoigu, in Moscow on all areas of bilateral military and technical-military cooperation.
Before the 19th meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission India-Russia in Moscow on Wednesday, India urged Russia to accelerate the delivery of systems for the surface-to-air S-400 Triumph missile defense system, reported the daily The Times of India.
The S-400 squadrons were initially scheduled for delivery from October 2020 to April 2023. However, sources speaking on condition of anonymity told Indian media that the first 15% installment was delayed for several months due to payment problems.
Although Moscow has pledged to adhere to the originally agreed delivery schedule, the issue will be high on the agenda during Wednesday’s meeting. The sources also said the $5.43 billion deal signed in October 2018 concerns the delivery of five S-400 systems.
Avoiding US Sanctions
India and Russia have developed a payment mechanism for missile systems to avoid US sanctions, which is not in favor of New Delhi acquiring Russian weapons systems.
Last month, Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said he was “reasonably convinced” that the United States would understand New Delhi’s decision to buy advanced defense equipment from Russia, including the S-400 air defense systems.
The US State Department has warned that it could impose sanctions on any country that buys Russia’s defense sector weapons. However, India and Russia have found a permanent payment mechanism, which they believe will circumvent any possible US sanctions.
Are there other defense projects to be discussed?
Both countries are also expected to discuss project 75 (I), worth about $6.5 billion, under which New Delhi intends to acquire at least six submarines for the Indian navy, including an Akula-1 nuclear attack submarine worth more than $3 billion.
In addition to Russia’s Rosoboronexport, Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems and France’s Naval Group are also competing to win this contest in India.
Russia also offered to jointly design Class D submarines for the Indian Navy. The proposed deal was discussed between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting in the Russian city of Vladivostok in September this year.
Regarding the upgrading of the Indian Air Force (IAF), New Delhi is looking to purchase a more advanced version of Sukhoi-30MKI.
Last month, IAF chief marshal RK Bhadauria mentioned that the upgraded Sukhoi would be equipped with modern “radar and weapon capabilities.” It would also have enhanced features to correct aspects of obsolescence management and electronic warfare,” he added.
During the visit of the Defense Minister, both sides will also inaugurate the India-Russia Defense Industry Cooperation Conference. Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov will represent the Russian side.
The Indian delegation’s visit to Russia follows the Intergovernmental Agreement (AIG), signed on September 4, to operationalize a collaborative mechanism in the joint manufacture of spare parts, components, aggregates and other products for the maintenance of weapons and equipment. defense of Russian origin in India through technology transfer and the creation of joint ventures.
The AIG framework gives order guarantees to companies for a minimum of five years.
Russian platforms identified for cooperation in manufacturing of spare parts and components include Sukhoi Su-30 and MiG-29 fighters, Mi-17 helicopters, MiG-29K / KUB embedded aircraft, INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier and T-72 and T-90 tanks.