NEW DELHI --- The Defense Acquisitions Council (DAC) of India has given its final approval to an agreement to purchase S-400 air defense missile systems from Russia, despite Washington’s opposition, Times of India reported on Sunday, citing informed sources.
The deal gained preliminary approval from the DAC in 2016. However, the final document, which was discussed during the recent commercial negotiations with Russia, still required some adjustment. The council, which gathered on Thursday, approved the deal with "minor deviations," the paper said.
"The S-400 procurement case will now go to the finance ministry for clearance and the PM-led Cabinet Committee on Security for the final nod. The country’s top political leadership will have to take a call on when the actual contract can be inked," the Times of India quoted a source as saying.
Indian media reported earlier that the country’s defense ministry expects an approval from the Governmental Committee on Security (CCS) to buy five S-400 complexes from Russia for a total of around $5.5 bln. The reports sparked concern in Washington. Particularly, the Chairman of the US House Armed Services Committee William Thornberry said in an interview with NDTV, that India’s S-400 purchases from Russia might affect the defense collaboration between India and the United States.
India’s defense minister Nirmala Sitharaman said June 5, that Moscow and New Delhi had reached the final stage of negotiations on the S-400 deal.
The S-400 Triumf is a Russian long-and mid-range anti-aircraft missile system designed to hit attack and reconnaissance aircraft (including aerial vehicles based on stealth technology) and any other air targets under conditions of intensive enemy fire and electronic countermeasures. As of January 2018, contracts for S-400 deliveries were inked with China and Turkey. In addition, negotiations to sell the systems to Saudi Arabia are underway.
US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said in an interview with India’s NDTV channel earlier this week that the issue of Russian defense contracts with India will be discussed during the first round of the 2+2 US-India talks, involving ministers of foreign affairs and defense. The date of the meeting is to be set soon.