- Deliveries of five regiments of S-400 air defence systems under a $5.43-billion deal with Russia are expected to be completed by year-end or early 2024, according to official sources. However, issues of delayed payments as well as insurance and reinsurance remain major stumbling blocks delaying deals in the pipeline
- Delivery of the third S-400 regiment has been completed.
- The second and third regiments saw delays of a few months. There have been delays in “milestone payments”.
- The three regiments are deployed along the Northen, Eastern and western borders, sources said.
- In July 2019, the Union government said in a written reply in Parliament that S-400 deliveries were “likely to be made by April 2023”.
- In August 2022, speaking at the Army Expo in Moscow, the CEO of Russia’s Rosoboronexport, Alexander Mikheyev, had said that they would deliver all five S-400 regiments to India by late 2023.
- Meanwhile, the Indian Navy’s Kilo class submarine, INS Sindhuratna, which just secured an extension of life in Russia, could not be brought back due to transportation issues.
- The initial plan was to move it by a transport dock ship directly from Russia, which didn’t materialise, following which the Navy tried to transport the submarine by sea to Norway and then via a transport dock to India, which also did not materialise, sources said. It will now sail on its own, making port calls along the way, it has been learnt.
- Officials had acknowledged that transportation and finding cargo carriers outside the purview of sanctions and their insurance has been a major issue. Insurance and reinsurance is under discussion, also to avoid cargo ships under sanctions, as reported by The Hindu earlier.
- India has contracted five S-400 regiments under a $5.43 billion or ₹40,291 crore deal as per a conversation rate of ₹74.2 against the dollar at the time, signed in October 2018. The deal has been delayed from the start over payment issues. With the looming threat of U.S. sanctions under CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act), the two sides had worked out payments through the rupee-rouble exchange.
- The payments troubles compounded after Russia was shut out of the global SWIFT system for money transfers. India and Russia have agreed to conduct payments through the rupee-rouble arrangement after trying payments in euros as well.
SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB