India Abroad

Despite US Opposition, India To Push Ahead With Russian Defence Deal For Ballistic Missile Shields

| June 1 , 2018 , 10:07 IST

India will be continuing with the $5.5 billion Russian defence deal to purchase the S-400 ballistic missile shields, despite opposition from the US, defence ministry officials said on Friday.

According to the officials quoted by Hindustan Times, the defence ministry will be approaching the apex Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) for approval to buy 5 units of the Russian S-400 air defence systems.

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On May 28, members of a visiting high-powered US Congress delegation indicated that the US's proposed sale of armed drones such as the MQ-9 Reaper or Predator-B and other high-tech equipment to India may be affected if Russia's deal of S-400 ballistic missile shield continued. The US representatives said that the US would have concerns in dealing with countries that have acquired S-400 systems.

The S-400 missile system is capable of hitting aircrafts over 300km away and can intercept incoming missiles. Russia has already sold the system to China which could possibly sell it to Pakistan, raising the importance of India purchasing the S-400 system.

The final decision on acquisition of the S-400 system would be taken by the CCS headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi since both India and Russia have completed negotiations on the deal.

As per Ministry of Defence officials speaking anonymously, New Delhi has expressed India's concerns and the need for a strong air defence system to the White House and Kremlin, due to India's neighbourhood.

Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman are expected to discuss the defence deals with their US counterparts Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis during a visit to the US on July 6.