Chennai: A group of Indian military personnel is leaving for Russia in the next few days to undergo training on key operational aspects of the S-400 air defence systems as Moscow looks at supplying the first batch of the missile to India later this year, officials said.
Russian Ambassador Nikolay R Kudashev interacted with the group at an event in the Russian embassy, during which he said the S-400 programme is one of the flagship projects in further boosting military cooperation between the two countries.
He said India-Russia military and military-technical ties were based on ‘ever growing extraordinary mutual interest’, coherence, consistency and complementarity.
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, notwithstanding a warning from the Trump administration that going ahead with the contract may invite US sanctions.
India made the first tranche of payment of around USD 800 million to Russia for the missile systems in 2019. The S-400 is known as Russia’s most advanced long-range surface-to-air missile defence system.
Recently, the US imposed sanctions on Turkey under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) for purchase of S-400 missile defences from Russia.
Around 100 Indian military personnel are leaving for Russia this month for the S-400 training programme, officials said.
“Coming out of the bipolar world and successfully proceeding through the current establishment of the polycentric order, our partnership is becoming even stronger, experiencing new areas and forms of mutually beneficial and forward-looking cooperation,” the ambassador said.
Russia is expected to start delivery of the S-400 missile systems later this year.