“The first supplies have already been started,” said Dmitry Shugayev, the head of the Russian military cooperation agency, on Sunday, adding, “The supplies of the S-400 air defense system to India have started and are proceeding on schedule.”
Shugayev added that the first unit will arrive in India by the end of this year.
Sources in the Indian defense industry said the parts of the air defense system have started reaching the country through both sea and air routes.
In October 2018, India signed a $5-billion deal with Russia to buy five units of long-range missile systems.
The supplies will put India at risk of sanctions from the United States under a 2017 US law aimed at deterring countries from buying Russian military hardware.
The administration of former US President Donald Trump had warned India that going ahead with the contract could invite US sanctions.
ast year, the United Stated imposed sanctions on NATO ally Turkey for acquiring S-400 missiles from Russia.
Moscow and Ankara signed an agreement in 2017 to deliver the S-400 to Turkey, making it the first NATO member to purchase the air defense missile system from Russia. Ankara had formerly purchased America’s F-35 jets, but in retaliation for Turkey’s S-400 purchase, Trump halted their delivery.
Washington claims the activation of the S-400s would compromise NATO’s defenses and could give Russia access to intelligence about the F-35 aircraft and other military equipment.
The United States and Russia have long been at loggerheads over Ankara’s purchase of the missile system.
The S-400 entered service with the Russian army in 2007 and is considered Russia’s most advanced long-range anti-aircraft missile system. Capable of engaging targets at a distance of 400 kilometers and at an altitude of up to 30 kilometers, the missile system can destroy aircraft as well as cruise and ballistic missiles. It can also be used against land-based targets.