India plans to use Russian missiles to target China

India plans to use units of a Russian-purchased S-400 air defense system — which uses a mobile surface-to-air missile system — as early as June to defend itself against potential threats from neighboring China, the Press Trust of India said. (PTI) reported this on Wednesday.

“In December, India received the first delivery of the Russian S-400 air defense system and plans to use the system by June 2022 to defend against Pakistani and Chinese threats,” US Lieutenant General Scott Berrier told members of the the US Senate. Armed Services Committee at a recent US Congressional hearing, as quoted by PTI. Berrier is the director of the United States Defense Intelligence Agency, the country’s top military intelligence officer.

Russia’s S-400 air defense system is considered the “country’s most advanced long-range surface-to-air missile defense system,” PTI noted in January, as it reported on the US government’s open disapproval of New Delhi’s decision to suspend the military equipment. to acquire from Moscow. †

“The administration [of U.S. President Joe Biden] has made it clear that it is discouraging India from continuing to purchase Russian equipment, and there are important geostrategic considerations, especially regarding its (incomprehensible) relationship with China,” James C. O’Brien, head of US Office of Sanctions Coordination, said at a hearing for the position on Jan. 12.

India signed a $5 billion deal with Russia in October 2018 to buy five units of the S-400 air defense missile systems over the following months. The two sides finalized the deal despite repeated public warnings from Washington that pursuing such a contract could lead to US sanctions against New Delhi.

“We certainly urge all our allies and our partners to distance themselves from Russian equipment… and truly avoid any kind of acquisition that would lead to sanctions on our behalf,” US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters in New Delhi after a face-to-face meeting with his Indian counterpart on March 20, 2021.

At the time, India had yet to take possession of one of the five S-400 air defense system shipments it ordered from Russia in October 2018. New Delhi began receiving the first batches of Russian military equipment in December 2021.

The Indian Army has stationed its first set of S-400s “at an Indian Air Force base in Punjab [a northwestern Indian state bordering Pakistan]duly charged with addressing airborne threats from Pakistan and China,” India’s the Stand newspaper observed on April 16.

“Through [the] end of this month [April], delivery of the critical system will be completed and then it will be deployed, expected in June. The location of the base where the [final shipments of the] systems will be deployed is unknown, but estimated in the northeast [of India],” the Stand revealed.

Much of India’s northeastern border is shared with China. The two Asian giants have been embroiled in an unofficial standoff in the Himalayas since June 2020, when Chinese forces launched a surprise attack on an Indian border regiment in the northern Indian state of Ladakh’s Galwan Valley. The skirmish killed 20 Indian troops and at least 38 Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers.

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