Monday, 28 November, 2022
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India to stick to its guns, firm on Russian S-400 deal despite US pressure to back out

Washington is instead pushing New Delhi to buy its interceptors and missiles to counter the deal, while also offering up armed drones and possibly F-35 fighter jets.

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New Delhi: India is all set to remain firm on its deal with Russia for the S-400 Triumf air defence system, even as Washington is pushing New Delhi to buy US interceptors and missiles, while selling armed drones and possibly offering F-35 fighter jets.

According to a PTI report Saturday, the Donald Trump administration has approved the sale of armed drones to India.

Top sources in the defence establishment said India will go ahead in the acquisition of the S-400 system, which can destroy incoming hostile aircraft, missiles and even drones at ranges of up to 400 km, for which the contract was signed in October 2018.

“It is a done deed,” an official source told ThePrint.

Asked if there was the possibility of India backing out of the deal, he said that was “always possible in all contracts” but any such decision would come with “severe consequences”.

A second government source told ThePrint that there is nothing “at the moment” when asked if India will go back on the deal.

“The Russians will be annoyed,” he said. “Remember that it is not just Russian fighters and air defence system we are talking here. In many fields such as in the nuclear sector, Russians are our only source. They are playing a big role in the nuclear submarine programme also. It will also affect the oil business and relations in other areas,” he added.

India is also closely monitoring the ongoing tussle between the US and Turkey, a NATO ally, which has also demonstrated its interest in the buying the S-400. The Americans have given Turkey an ultimatum on its proposed deal for the Russian S-400 system.

India is keenly aware the US may not grant it a waiver of CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) sanctions, which the Trump administration is determined to impose on countries that have defence interests with Russia.

Americans offer THAAD, F-35 jets

To sweeten its demand to abandon the Russian contract, the US offering the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence system (THAAD) along with Patriot missiles as well as F-35 stealth fighters.

However, sources in the Indian Air Force said no formal offer had been made, nor  has India formally shown any interest in the aircraft, which on paper would be cheaper than the Rafale jets Delhi is buying from France.

India is currently in the process of coming out with a formal tender (request for proposal) for 114 fighter jets. Incidentally, one of the contenders is US firm Lockheed Martin, which is now offering its F-21 single engine fighter aircraft.

The firm also manufactures the F-35 stealth fighters and is the only one in the world to have a single engine aircraft as well as a fifth generation fighter.

Also read: India buying S-400 missile systems from Russia will have serious implications on defence ties: US


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  1. New Delhi: India is all set to remain firm on its deal with Russia for the S-400 Triumf air defence system, even as Washington is pushing New Delhi to buy US interceptors and missiles, while selling armed drones and possibly offering F-35 fighter jets.

  2. The attitude of India regarding the deal of S-400 shows that India is not moving as a reliable partner with United States. There is s need of revisit in the policies regarding the defense partnerships with India for U.S. because this attitude of India will cause severe threat not only to the stability of the region whereas to the global policies of U.S. as well.

    • India feels the same way when it sees US made fighters flying in Pakistan Air Force. French and Russians have been far more reliable partners for us.
      For instance, US had denied India access to it’s GPS during Kargil conflict, 1999. But still India has an attitude problem, you say!!

  3. The HAL test pilots had flown the Aircraft before IAF pilots tested it.Hence can not blame HAL totally.Secod is Mirage is designed by France,whether HAL can upgrade a French equipment which is not developed by them?

  4. Go ahead with S400,
    Also finalise F21 from USA, which has good future MAKE IN INDIA and export prospects as well as a rock solid, proven jet fighter. This will assure immense job creation, along with tech transfer , and not only TATASbut also numerous ancillary Indian industries.
    Govt must use deft diplomacy to get both…
    Cannot offer to snub Russia…

    • The F21 is actually a F16 with a few updates. The F16 airframe is a 1970’s based design. While you can update radar and software, the airframe does not allow for improving physical characteristics such as flight ceiling, manouverability and payload. The Rafale is a clean-sheet design introduced in 2001. It is thus a couple of generations ahead of the F21 in terms of aerodynamics, manouverability, etc. The closest competitor in terms of flight characteristics to the Rafale is the MiG 35, introduced in 2007. The F21 ranks behind both the Rafale and the MiG 35. Both Rafale and MiG have accepted Make in India with tech transfer and job creation. The American F35 is the worst plane that India could buy. It is a disaster.

  5. The US is mistaken in offering the THAAD as substitute for the S 400. THAAD is effective only at medium ranges while S 400 is a long range defence system. Hopefully our IAF will not compromise specs under political pressure and will insist on the S 400.
    US offer of the F 35 is also tricky since in certain combat situations, the Rafale maneuverability has been found to be superior to the F 35. That is something the US will not tell us.

    • Manueverability comes into picture when dogfight occurs at close ranges. F 35 was designed to beat radars and shoot down enemy aircrafts from far greater ranges. So it’s intention was never to be good at manueverability.
      US defence deals always comes with a lot of strings attached, so from that point of view it’s always better to avoid their weapons unless critically required, or far superior in technology to sino-pak weaponry.

  6. Turkey is holding firm as well. Its pilots are being excluded from training on the F 35. The fault line between the US and China – Russia is getting more sharply etched with each passing day. 2. Not directly related, perhaps, but President Trump threatened 5% tariffs on imports of $ 350 from Mexico unless it restricted illegal migration from across its border. There is talk of the US starting a Section 301 wide ranging enquiry against India’s trade practices. 3. This is the thin ice Indian foreign policy has to skate on. Think twice before sending the sailing boats to join the Quad.

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