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SOURCE: RAUNAK KUNDE / NEWS BEAT / IDRW.ORG.

Indian Air Force (IAF) team has commenced training on the S-400 air defense system in Russia and deliveries of which are expected from November this year, and activation of the first regiment likely to take place by April next year, that when sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) is likely to apply on India for procurement of the S-400 system.

New Delhi appears to be determined to proceed with the $5.2-billion deal, and not make any U-Turns on the deal even after being offered lucrative counter-air defense systems from the United States and, likely, Biden administrations might ignore calls from his generals and impose sanctions on India after S-400 system goes critical and is activated by the IAF next year.

India operates some of the main American systems like C-130J and C-17 military transport planes, P8I Maritime Patrol and Anti-Submarine aircraft, CH-47F (I) Chinook helicopters, AH-64E Apache helicopters, MH-60 Romeo Seahawk helicopters, and M777 Howitzer guns that can face disturbed supply of spares if sanctions are placed on India. But informed sources have told idrw.org that might not be the case and present systems might not see any disruption of spares.

United States withdrawing its F-21, F-18, and F-15EX fighter jets offer from the Indian fighter jet deal for 114 units might not affect Indian directly like Turkey had to face issues after it was kicked out of the F-35 program. India is not part of any American weapon joint venture nor it had any plans to procure the American F-35.

The second sanction point could come from Israel, Biden administration might force curtailing of defense collaboration with India in terms of sharing or joint development of the system with Indian partners. Israel and India have a long history of defense partnerships and many of the systems have been license-produced in India or Jointly developed between two countries. Either Israel might be forced to pull back from ongoing defense partnerships or curtails its activities in India.

The possibility of Americans stopping the supply of GE engines for India’s Tejas Mk1A and LCA-AF MK2 program also has been discussed and the matter seems to be of particular concern for the IAF that has held talks with HAL on the subject. IAF recently has placed fresh orders for 83 Tejas Mk1A with HAL for which HAL is likely to place fresh orders with GE for the procurement of 99 F404-GE-IN20 engines. If American hits the supply of engines for the LCA-Tejas program it could certainly derail the manufacturing of the aircraft but it could also quickly open up the supply of engines from other vendors but delays could affect IAF’s modernization plans. HAL might offer Russian Klimov RD-33 that are license-produced in India as temporary arrangement or the underpowered French M-88 engines.

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