Covid-19 pandemic won’t affect S-400 deliveries to India: Indian Ambassador in Russia

S-400 deliveries to India
Image: S-400 air defence missile

Moscow: All the major military contracts, including the deliveries of S-400 air defence missile systems, between Russia and India will be on schedule and the coronavirus pandemic will have no effect on their timeframe, according to India’s top diplomat here.

“I don’t think there will be any impact. There has been slight dislocation of a couple of weeks but all the major contracts will be on schedule, we don’t anticipate any problem on that,” Indian Ambassador to Russia Bala Venkatesh Varma was quoted as saying by the TASS news agency on Saturday.

In October 2018, India had signed a USD 5 billion deal with Russia to buy five units of the S-400 air defence missile systems, notwithstanding warning from the Trump administration that going ahead with the contract may invite US sanctions.

Last year, India made the first tranche of payment of around USD 800 million to Russia for the missile systems.

In February, Deputy Director of the Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC), Vladimir Drozhzhov, said that Moscow will begin the delivery of the S-400 surface-to-air missile systems to India by the end of 2021 and there will be no delay in execution of the project.

“We will fulfil our delivery commitments,” Drozhzhov had said, adding that the defence cooperation between the two countries is very robust.

The ‘Triumf’ interceptor-based missile system can destroy incoming hostile aircraft, missiles and even drones at ranges of up to 400 km.

The S-400 is known as Russia’s most advanced long-range surface-to-air missile defence system. Russia plans to complete the delivery of the fifth regimental set in the first half of 2025.

The US had imposed sanctions on Russia under the stringent Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). The law also provides for punitive action against countries purchasing defence hardware from Russia.