India deploys S-400 air defense system near borders with China and Pakistan

The Indian military revealed on January 1 that it is deploying the Russian S-400 air defense system at an airbase in Punjab state, for protection against any strike from Pakistan and China.

According to India Today on January 2, an Indian Army official revealed that it expected to take six weeks to complete the first deployment of the system. At that time, the combat range of this S-400 system will cover the northern border with China.

The official said that the deployment of the first batch of S-400s is currently underway, and some important components and peripherals of the deployed air defense missile system will be transported soon. 

After the S-400 system is deployed, it is calculated that the combat scope will cover the India – China and India – Pakistan border.

According to the Indian newspaper The Economic Times, several Indian military officials said on January 1 that the Indian Air Force is likely to complete the deployment of its first regiment of S-400 air defense missiles at an airbase in Punjab in February 2022.  The deployment of the missile system has already begun and will take at least six weeks to complete.

This newspaper said that the method of deploying the first regiment of S-400 air defense missiles of the Indian army with a combat range can cover part of the northern border area adjacent to China and with Pakistan.

Earlier, Indian news agency PTI quoted military officials of this country as saying that the principle of deploying India’s S-400 air defense system is so that the system can cover India’s border areas with China and Pakistan.

Through research, it is known that the state of Punjab is located in northwestern India, with an area of ​​​​about 50,400 square kilometers. The state is bordered by Pakistan to the west and the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir to the north. It is separated from China to the northeast by the state of Himachal Pradesh.

The S-400 air defense system is equipped with a variety of radars and anti-aircraft missiles, the theoretical range of detection of the above target cannot reach 600 km, depending on the specific type of missile. aerial interception can range from tens of kilometers to a maximum of 400 kilometers. 

Because the China-India border area has high terrain, mainly high mountains, and from Punjab to China is separated by Himachal Pradesh state in the middle; these have had a great influence on the deployment and use of the S-400 air defense system by the Indian side. 

If for stealth purposes, the actual combat range and effectiveness of the Indian Army’s S-400 system is further reduced.

According to previous information, in October 2018, Russia and India signed a contract to buy and sell S-400 air defense systems for 5 regiments, worth $5.43 billion. The Chinese side also purchased this weapon system in 2015. 

Some analysts say that the PLA has been equipped with the S-400 air defense system earlier and is more familiar with the operation, advantages, and disadvantages of this system than India. 

Chinese media said that India’s desire to flaunt the power of the S-400 system in the Indian border area is probably too optimistic.

However, outside military observers have also analyzed that the S-400 system India bought from Russia has a 40N6 missile with a range of 400 km, which was developed after China bought it five years ago. 2015; Therefore, the S-400 system that China bought is the first generation with only 48N6E3 missile ammunition, the missile has the longest range of 250 km, far inferior to the S-400 system that India bought. 

Regarding whether China will buy a new type of Russian 40N6 missile after it has been deployed, no party has yet released relevant information.

S-400 defence system
S-400 system that India bought has a 40N6 ammunition with a range of up to 400 km

In addition, The Economic Times of India also mentioned that the Joe Biden administration has not yet clarified the issue of whether the US will impose sanctions on India’s purchase of the S-400 air defense system under the agreement. called the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). 

When India and Russia reached an agreement, then-US President Donald Trump warned India that the deal could subject India to US sanctions.

Previously, after Turkey bought the S-400 from Russia under US sanctions, some feared Washington might impose similar penalties on India as well. 

The CAATSA was passed in 2017. Previously, Turkey, a NATO ally, was sanctioned by the US for purchasing the S-400 from Russia.

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