A group of Indian military personnel is leaving for Russia in the next few days to undergo training on key operational aspects of the S-400 air defense systems as the first batch of missiles are due to arrive later this year, said defense sources. Russian Ambassador Nikolay R Kudashev considers the S-400 program to be one of the flagship projects in further boosting military cooperation between the two countries. He made this statement while interacting with a group at Russian Embassy. He said, “Indo-Russia military and military-technical ties are based on ever-growing extraordinary mutual interest, coherence, consistency and complementarily”
India paid its first installment of payment of around USD 800 million to Russia for the missile systems in 2019. The S-400 is known as Russia's most advanced long-range surface-to-air missile defense system. S-400 has become more important as the current situation on LAC has deteriorated to its worst in recent years; moreover, PLA is already familiar with the working of S-400 as it already possesses this system.
According to Russian Defence Experts, S-400 has the capability to strike its target up to 400km, and India is due to acquire 5 such regiments. S-400 will play a vital role in filling up defense gaps that have been created due to the depleting squadron strength of IAF which is currently down to 30 against the sanctioned strength of 42.
Nicolay R Kudashev also mentioned other defense procurements such as the AK-203 Kalashnikov contract, the Ka-226 helicopters program as well as cooperation in the areas of combat aviation including the Su-30MKI project. This statement comes at a time when India is looking towards the west as well as indigenous sources for its future defense procurements. For a very long time, Russian weapons have dominated Indian defense procurement programs, as a result, the majority of the Indian military equipment is Russian made but in recent times India is focused more on indigenization and self-sustenance.
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Moscow also plans to demonstrate Su-57, Su-35, and MiG-35 fighter jets, helicopters Ka-52, Ka-226, Mi-17B-5, Mi-26, and many other new items and equipment in the near future as mentioned by the ambassador. It clearly shows that Russia still wants to dominate the Indian market, but it’s unclear how much of this new equipment will actually be inducted as future plans of India are quite different.