Russia has backed its impending supply of S-400 surface-to-air missile system to India despite the threat of US sanctions. In fact, India has taken a similar position on the S-400 in the past, saying that it only recognised UN sanctions, not those unilaterally declared by specific countries. This is a position that New Delhi and Moscow should remain firm on. After all, these are two sovereign nations that have long had a deep defence relationship. For a third country to interfere in a defence sale between them is totally uncalled for.
True, the US wants India in its camp and perhaps thinks that Russian arms sales are detrimental to this objective. But this is a very transactional view of the geopolitical situation. The S-400 platform is actually peerless in its category. And India needs this system to shore up its defence capabilities in the face of a belligerent China. Therefore, if Russia is willing to sell the system to India — despite Moscow being considered close to Beijing — the US shouldn’t have any objection if it too supports India’s need for military modernisation to counter China.
The S-400 air defence system is capable of destroying targets at a distance of up to 400 km and a height of up to 30 km. This is certainly needed by the Indian armed forces who are currently engaged in a border standoff with China in eastern Ladakh. The S-400 deal between India and Russia must go ahead. Hopefully, the incoming Joe Biden administration in the US will take a more strategic view of the matter.
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