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India paid advance for Russia’s S-400 missiles, delivery to be complete in full in 2025

India’s purchase of Russia’s S-400 air defense system for over $5billion which US tried to derail is moving ahead, with the advance payment already made, head of a Russian defense conglomerate has confirmed.

“The advance payment has been made. I will not say the exact figure, but the payment is done,” Sergey Chemezov told journalists on the sidelines of Dubai Airshow on Monday. His company, Rostec, is deeply involved in Russian arms export, including sale of S-400 surface-to-air missiles.

His remark confirmed the report by the newspaper Hindustan Times, which said India had paid Russia some $850 million, or 15 percent of the total sum, in September. The report said the payment used a mechanism designed to circumvent US monitoring of international financial transactions. Washington has a law that says any buyer of advanced Russian weapon systems, including the S-400, may be subjected to financial sanctions and vocally opposed the Russian-Indian deal.

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Chemezov assured the state-of-art military hardware that India ordered was already being produced and that the delivery will be fully complete in 2025, just as the contract says. He wouldn’t elaborate on the shipment schedule. The Hindustan Times said its sources expected the first batch to arrive “in 16 to 18 months”.

The S-400 is Russia’s most advanced long-range air defense system meant to intercept enemy aircraft and missiles. The contract signed in October last year is for five S-400 batteries and is estimated to be worth $5.4 billion.

A similar deal between Russia and Turkey resulted in a major rift between Washington and Ankara. The US pressured its NATO ally not to buy the Russian weapon system, but failed to stop the purchase. It retaliated by kicking Turkey out of the F-35 fighter jet program, claiming it was necessary to protect the aircraft’s secrets from Russia.

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Chemezov remarked that part of the appeal that Russian weapons have in the international market is that “we never impose political conditions”. Rostec, the state-owned company that he heads, is, among other things, a top mediator between Russian defense manufacturers and foreign clients through its subsidiary, Rosoboronexport.

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