India on track to acquire Russian S-400 missile defence system
India is on track to acquire the S-400 missile defence system, while it examines the US decision to impose sanctions on NATO ally Turkey’s defence industry over the purchase of the Russian system. Persons familiar with the dynamics of India’s global outreach told ET that since New Delhi maintains autonomy in its foreign policy, the US decision won’t affect the Indian deal.
Last week, the external affairs ministry had emphasised that it pursued foreign policy based on national interest and hoped that this was appreciated by partners. “Our relations with Russia stand on their own merits, including in the sphere of military-technical cooperation,” MEA spokesperson had said.
Diplomatic sources indicated that India’s case is different from that of Turkey as Ankara went ahead with the purchase of S-400 system despite being a NATO member. The MEA had earlier made it clear that India had no plans to scrap its S-400 deal with Russia despite the US nudge. The Ministry of Defence had also expressed similar views.
The Indian government has not been comfortable with repeated US attempts to dissuade it from purchasing the S-400 system. Moreover, India has often taken a strong stand against the use of sanctions as a political tool by one country against the other.
In fact, after the June 15 clash with the Chinese PLA on LAC in eastern Ladakh, which resulted in the killing of about 20 Indian military personnel, India had requested Russia to expedite S-400 supply, following which Moscow assured that some systems would reach much before the deadline of 2021-end.