New Delhi: Despite US opposition, India is speeding up the process of acquiring the S-400 Triumf air defence systems from Russia, and the union defence ministry has approved the deal which is worth nearly 40,000 crore, according to report. The military acquisition, which defence circles are describing as a “game-changer”, will comprise five such advanced missile systems.
On Thursday, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman chaired the defence acquisitions council (DAC), which gave its approval to the minor deviations in the deal, sources told. Interestingly, the DAC meeting took place a day after the US “postponed” the key 2+2 dialogue between Sitharaman and foreign minister Sushma Swaraj, and their respective US counterparts.
The procurement file for the Rs 39,000 crore deal now heads to the finance ministry and once it gets clearance from there, the Cabinet Committee on Security headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to stamp its final approval.
Sources told that the top political leadership of the country will have to “take a call on when the actual contract can be inked”. The S-400 missile systems have the capacity to locate, track and destroy strategic bombers, spy aircraft, missiles, drones and stealth fighters at a range and altitude of 400 km and 30 km, respectively.
While Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin set the ball rolling on the deal during their Goa summit in October 2016, the final touches were being put on the agreement recently. But the US has expressed its unhappiness over the defence deal and urged India not to go ahead with it, reports say.