India receives 3rd squadron of Russian S-400 air defense missile systems

India signed a contract to acquire five squadrons of S-400 Triumf air defence missiles from Russia. The third squadron is likely to be deployed in either Punjab or Rajasthan to deal with potential attacks from Pakistan, the Indian website News 18 writes.
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5P85SM2-01 TEL for S-400 Triumf air defense system at the Dress rehearsal of Moscow 2022 Victory Day Parade (Picture source: Vitaly Kuzmin)

The first squadron of S-400 missiles (SA-21 Growler in NATO code) was received in December 2021 and the second one in April 2022. Both squadrons have been strategically placed to guard borders and provide air defence against China and Pakistan, News 18 reports: the first two squadrons have been deployed to take care of the Ladakh sector along the sensitive ‘’Chicken’s neck corridor’’ in West Bengal and the entire north-eastern region, ANI reported. The third squadron is likely to be deployed in either Punjab or Rajasthan to deal with potential attacks from Pakistan. India has already operationalised its first two squadrons of missile systems.

The initial contract was signed in October 2018 during a visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to India. Under the deal, India agreed to purchase five S-400 systems at a cost of $5.43 billion.

The India-Russia S-400 deal has attracted significant attention and controversy due to its potential impact on India's relationship with the United States. The US has threatened to impose sanctions on India if it goes ahead with the purchase, citing concerns about India's defense ties with Russia and the potential for Russian technology to be used against US forces. India has maintained that the S-400 deal is essential for its national security and that it is not bound by US sanctions since it is not a signatory to the US-led Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). India has also argued that it has the right to diversify its defence procurement and maintain its strategic autonomy.

The S-400 is a highly advanced air defence system that can shoot down enemy aircraft, missiles and drones at ranges of up to 400 km. The system is capable of tracking multiple targets and engaging up to 80 targets simultaneously.

Defense News March 2023