[Editorial Analysis] For more than a waiver

Mains Paper 3: Defence and Security
Prelims level: S-400 Triumf system
Mains level: About S-400 Triumf system and its impact


• The announcement by Russia that supplies of the S-400 Triumf system to India has set the stage for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit in early December. It has also thrown a challenge to the U.S. that threatened sanctions against India.

About S-400 System deal:

• Inter-governmental agreement (IGA) for five S-400 Triumf air defence systems: It was signed in 2018 during Mr. Putin’s visit then for 5 systems Worth ₹39,000 Cr(over $5bn).

• It is One of the most advanced long-range SAM defence systems in the world that can tackle all air-borne targets at a range of up to 400km.

Features include:

1. Range: 400km

2. Max speed: 4800m/s or Mach 15;

3. Max Altitude: 10,000m- 30 km (in final stages)

4. Deployment time: 10minutes.

5. Each system includes: a command post, 3-D phased array acquisition radar, Optional tracking radar, Firing units with associated multi-mode engagement radar, Various kind of missile;

• Rupee-Rouble deal: In order to protect advance payments for the S-400 from U.S. strictures, India and Russia conducted their transfers through a rupee-rouble system. With the first parts of the system now delivered, and the first squadron delivery likely to be completed by December-end, the die is cast.

• China is also a customer: $3bn deal last year for 6 such systems to be delivered by 2017.

US’s Reaction:

• In 2017, the U.S. had passed its Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) that provided for economic and travel sanctions against countries and officials that transacted significant military and intelligence contracts with Russia, North Korea and Iran.

• Indian reaction: India has paid little heed to U.S. warnings that the sanctions — slapped on China and NATO partner, Turkey, for buying the S-400 — could also be used against India. Although India caveed-in on similar U.S. threats over the purchase of Iranian oil in 2019. India now have asserted that the S-400 deal is an essential part of India’s defences at a time of challenges on its eastern and western frontiers.

Choices with US:

• Ignoring the deal: US President has a choice not to allow the S-400 delivery to turn into a showdown with India. He has been authorised by the Congress to waive sanctions if the waiver is found to be in American “vital national security interests”, or, that India would reduce its future dependence on Russian weaponry (which is unlikely).

• Designation of a new position for India: Many U.S. Congress representatives have proposed an amendment to CAATSA, viewing that India is a prized U.S. partner — of the Quad, the Indo-Pacific and in countering China. Sanctions will cause a rift in India-U.S. ties, and could spur India towards Russia.

• Upholding the Multilateral global systems: U.S. must recognise that its unilateral sanctions, which are not U.N. endorsed, undermine the multilateral system.

• No-objective criteria: The subjective and whimsical manner in which these sanctions were used, withdrawn and then reimposed against Iran, for example, do not inspire confidence in them. For India, acceding to such sanctions amounts to becoming a party to a bilateral dispute, and challenges the nation’s principles of sovereignty and strategic autonomy.


• Rather than trying to reason with the U.S. for an exceptional waiver to its domestic law, New Delhi must make it clear to Washington that the law should be abandoned, as it negates the very “rules-based international order” that is the foundation of the India-U.S. global strategic partnership.


Prelims Questions:

Q.1) With reference to the Goa Maritime Conclave (GMC) – 2021, consider the following statements:

1. The theme for this year’s edition of GMC is “Maritime Security and Emerging Non-Traditional Threats: A Case for Proactive Role for IOR Navies”.

2. It is Indian Navy’s Outreach Initiative providing a multinational platform to harness the collective wisdom of practitioners of maritime security and the academia towards garnering outcome oriented maritime thought.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: C

Subscribe to Get Weekly updates

Get daily current affair video, detailed current affairs PPT for quick revision and Free One Liner PDF directly in your inbox. Subscribe now to get this month's one liner for FREE.