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S-400: Govt says it takes sovereign decisions based on threat perception


NEW DELHI (PTI):  Amid a looming threat of US sanctions on India over its procurement of S-400 missile systems from Russia, the government on Friday said it takes sovereign decisions based on threat perception and to keep the armed forces in a state of readiness to meet the entire spectrum of security challenges.

Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt, replying to a question in Lok Sabha, on Friday said the government is aware of all developments that may impact procurement of defence equipment.

To a separate question, he also said that India has already developed an indigenous anti-drone system that is "capable of detection, tracking, soft kill and hard kill of enemy drones".

Bhatt said available information indicated that only the US, Israel, France, the UK and Germany have anti-drone capabilities.

"Order for anti-drone systems has been placed by Indian armed forces (Navy, Army and Air Force) on Bharat Electronics Ltd based on technology developed by the DRDO," Bhatt said.

He said the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has also transferred the technology for the production of the drones to four more private industries.

On the S-400 missiles, he said their deliveries are as per contractual timelines.

"The government takes sovereign decisions based on threat perception, operational and technological aspects to keep the armed forces in a state of readiness to meet the entire spectrum of security challenges. The deliveries are as per contractual timelines," he said.

He said the S-400 missile is a potent system and India's air defence capability will be significantly enhanced following its induction.

"The S-400 Missile is a potent system in terms of its operational capability to provide continuous and effective air defence system to a very large area. With the induction of this system, air defence capability of the nation will be significantly enhanced," the minister said.

India has already developed an indigenous Anti-Drone System. The system is capable of Detection, Tracking, Soft Kill and Hard Kill of enemy Drones.

Alexander Mikheyev, the head of Russia's state-run military firm Rosoboronexport, said last month that Moscow has started delivery of the components of the S-400 air defence missile systems to India.

In October 2018, India had signed a USD 5 billion deal with Russia to buy five units of the S-400 air defence missile systems, despite a warning from the Trump administration that going ahead with the contract may invite US sanctions.

The Biden administration has not yet clarified whether it will impose sanctions on India under the provisions of the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) for procuring the S-400 missile systems.

The CAATSA, which was brought in 2017, provides for punitive actions against any country engaged in transactions with Russian defence and intelligence sectors.

The US has already imposed sanctions on Turkey under the CAATSA for the purchase of a batch of S-400 missile defence systems from Russia.

Following the US sanctions on Turkey over the procurement of S-400 missile systems, there were apprehensions that Washington may impose similar punitive measures on India.

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