“Our commitments under the contract will be fulfilled. India will receive the systems on time, at the agreed date and without any delays,” said Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov at a press conference on Wednesday, presstv.ir reported.
The senior diplomat also stressed that the missile systems — one of Russia’s most advanced anti-aircraft weapons — would significantly strengthen India’s air defense capability.
During a visit to India on October 5 last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a contract with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to deliver five regiment sets of the S-400 systems worth 5.43 billion dollars.
Moscow and New Delhi had signed an intergovernmental agreement on the sale of five units of the air defense systems during the 17th India-Russia summit back in October 2016 in the Indian coastal region of Goa.
Citing an unnamed military diplomat, Russia’s TASS news agency reported on Wednesday that India would receive its first regiment set in the fall of 2020.
Last week, the Indian government told Lok Sabha, the lower house of India’s bicameral parliament, that it would begin receiving the air defense systems from Russia from October next year and that the deliveries would be completed by April 2023, the NDTV reported on Wednesday.
The S-400 system, whose full name is the Triumf Mobile Multiple Anti-Aircraft Missile System (AAMS), is an advanced Russian missile system designed to detect, track, and destroy planes, drones, or missiles as far as 402 kilometers away. The advanced system, which went into service in 2007, can also be used against ground objectives.
The US has already voiced dissatisfaction with the Russo-Indian S-400 deal. In August, a senior Pentagon official said that the US might impose sanctions against India if the purchase occurred.
Under its current unilateral sanctions against Moscow, the US could impose sanctions against New Delhi under Washington’s Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which targets countries that buy arms from Russia. The so-called bill was enacted in 2017.
Ryabkov, the Russian deputy foreign minister, said Russia opposed such unilateral measures.
He also said that, despite having been under Western sanctions for several years, Russia’s defense cooperation with other countries, including Turkey and China, “is not falling apart, it is progressing.”
“If it [the United States] makes such decisions, then it will tarnish its own image not only in Russia but also in other countries that want and will cooperate with us,” Ryabkov added.
Turkey, a NATO ally of the US, and China have already bought Russia’s S-400 air defense missile systems in defiance of Washington.