India-Russia S-400 Deal: Implications on Pakistan and China

Analysis/Arif Qureshi

The S-400 previously known as the (S-300 PMU-3) is an anti-aircraft weapon system developed in the 1990s by Russia’s Almaz Central Design Bureau as an upgrade of the S-300 family. Russian-built S-400 Triumf, a long-range surface-to-air missile system capable of destroying both cruise and ballistic missiles. It has been in service with the Russian Armed Forces since 2007. State of the art S-400 (NATO Nomenclature SA-21 Growler) is designed by Russian Almaz-Altay Central Design Bureau is one of the most advanced 4th generation long-range air defense missile systems in the world.

The S-400 uses four missiles to fill its performance envelope,

Fist The very-long-range (400 km),

Second The long-range (250 km),

Third The medium-range (120 km),

Fourth The short-range (40 km)

Deal between India and Russian over S-400

India and Russia have signed a $5.4 billion contract on the supply of Russia’s S-400 air defense system to India during the recent visit of  Russian President Vladimir Putin to Indian (5 September, 2018).  Russian President Vladimir met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for an annual bilateral summit that’s had focused on energy, security and defense issues. According to the deal deliveries of S-400 scheduled to start in 2020. India will receive ten battalions of the system, with a battalion normally consisting of 8 launchers, 112 missiles, and the associated command, radar and support vehicles. The projectiles travel towards the target at blistering speed of 17,000kms an hour.

Indian ambitions behind the purchase S-400 (To counter growing china Influence in the region)

According to defense analysts India inked a $5 billion purchase of advanced S-400 missile technology from Russia seen as New Delhi’s response to China’s growing influence in the region especially relations with Pakistan. The deal is a signal that the Narendra Modi administration is “trying to take steps to counter China,” said Richard Rossow, a senior advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, who specializes on U.S.-India relations. He believes that India wants high-end defense equipment for power projection in the Indian Ocean, where Beijing has been growing increasingly assertive. The S-400 missile defense system is a significant strategic upgrade in India’s military hardware in its pursuit to become a global power. New Delhi has been arming itself to match the Chinese military might.

Pakistan China relations and CPEC

Form the day first when China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was launched Indians considered CPEC as a threat to Indian security. Secondly China is certainly a motivating factor not only because of Chinese assertiveness in the Indian Ocean, but also because Beijing supplies about 70 percent of the weapons imported by Pakistan.

Impact on Pakistan after getting S-400

The S-400 range would enable India to track aircraft beyond its borders, making it a valuable asset as the People’s Liberation Army Air Force extends its training and deployments closer to Indian Territory. According to defense analysts the S-400 is far superior to the Chinese-supplied Pakistani surface-to-air missile defense systems, as acquisition of the S-400 would be a way for India to counter Pakistan’s advances in nuclear technology. When deployed along the border with Pakistan, the system will provide India with 600kms radar coverage and the option of shooting down a hostile aircraft or missile 400kms to 40kms outside its territory.

Pakistan’s reaction over sale of S-400 to India

Pakistan has expressed concerns on this deal because from the Pakistani perspective, it upsets the equation of conventional weapons that exist in this region especially between India and Pakistan. The only reaction came before the signing the deal was the Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry who commented on the deal through an interview to Russian new network “Sputnik”.  Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said that Pakistan is concerned about India moving closer to acquiring Russian S-400 air defense systems and urges Moscow not to bet on New Delhi alone. Fawad Chaudhry said India is using its might against Pakistan, they are building their power against Pakistan, and that is very unfair. We know that Russia and India have a relationship, but now I think Pakistan is also getting closer to Russia, so Russia should not place its bets on India only.

Pak-Russia relation at healthy pace

Although Pakistan cannot affect Indo-Russian relations at this stage but the bright aspect is that the defense ties between Pakistan and Russian are moving at a healthy pace, Last month Pakistan and Russian special operation forces conducted joint training exercise Druzhba-III. A Russian Army Contingent comprising of 80 soldiers participated in 3rd joint military exercise Druzhba-III as part of Pakistan-Russia training cooperation. The exercise aimed at counter-terrorism (CT) training of the Special Forces and exchanging mutual CT experiences. The joint military exercise was held at Cherat and National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC), Pabbi. Pakistan hosted the first joint training exercise Druzhba-I which was held in October 2016 at Cherat while Druzhba-II was hosted by Russia in 2017 at Mineralnye Vody in the North Caucasus at an altitude of 2300 meters above sea level.

Pakistan decides to counter S-400 with Chinese “Wing Loong II series”

According to media reports to counter and balance the S-400 air missile system, Pakistan is going to acquire 48 Chinese armed drones “Wing Loong II series” along with a transfer of technology. The deal also ensures inter-operability between China’s People’s Liberation Army and Pakistan’s military. Pakistan and China have signed a contract facilitating the purchase of 48 Chinese armed drones — Wing Loong II series– for the Pakistani Air Force. Manufactured by China’s state-owned Chengdu Aircraft Industrial, the Wing Loong II is a reconnaissance and strike multi-role endurance system. Pakistani Air Force’s Sherdils Aerobatic Team confirmed the development on its official Facebook page.

Risk of sanctions form United States

Defense Analysts are of the opinion that India may have to face U.S. sanctions after the purchase deal of S-400 with Russia. Countries doing business with Russia’s defense and intelligence sectors could face the risk of automatic penalties under a U.S. law called Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) that President Donald Trump enacted last year. Last month, Washington imposed such sanctions on China’s military for purchasing Russian weapons. It is reminded that the India is not the only and first country to purchase S-400 air missile system form Russians, China and Turkey are in discussion with Russia to get this and some Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar also have shown interest to get this. Iran already has gotten some missiles of old technology of S-300.

The writer is editor of diplomatic news magazine, “The Fortress” he can be reached at

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