In an effort to prevent India from proceeding with the S-400 deal with Russia, the United States can try to persuade India to consider its ballistic missile as defense options. External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman are visiting Washington on July 6 and US may make ballistic missile defence an agenda point in the Indo-US 2+2 dialogue. The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system which is considered a sophisticated missile defence system would be a suggested option. THAAD is an effective defence system against long-range missiles.
Russian has made the latest version of S-400 missile defence system which has a longer range and is believed to be effective against a larger array of aerial attacks, from fighter aircraft such as the F-18s and F-35s mainly. However, the jury is in dilemma to decide whether it is more effective than the THAAD against intermediate-range and intercontinental ballistic missile systems.
According to ET, the procurement of India’s proposed S-400 from Russia has inspired re-evaluation within the Trump administration whether India will have to move forward with a deal of about Rs 39,000 crore, Russia transmits the US faster with the THAAD proposal. With the United States, the deal of S-400 has become a politically sensitive issue. Now, US Congress is debating a Bill whether to allow for sanctions against Russian defence entities or not.
Seeing India’s strong defense connection with Russia, through the Secretary of Defence James Matis, the Trump Administration has demanded a rebate on such conditions to countries such as India that it gradually reduces its military dependence on Russia. In spite of busy lobbying within Washington, the Congress still has not given satisfactory relief. The problem is linked to the fact that in the category of technically sophisticated equipment in the Sanctions Act (CAATSA) by Countering America’s opponents, the S-400 system must be specifically targeted for this purpose. However, India’s S-400 deal with Russia has been in the process before the US started debating the subject.
In addition, it is inappropriate for the United States to expect India to end its defence relations with Russia, which has been a proven credible partner through many conflicts.
The senior government officials of US said that unlike many other countries which purchase defence equipment from Russia, India does not American interests in future by using Russian equipment. In the opening 2 + 2 talks between the Foreign and Defense Ministers of both the countries, while the United States can urge India’s first exit option they can offer.