India plans to deploy the S-400 missile defence system, received from Russia, to counter possible threats from Pakistan and China by June 2022, Lt Gen Scott Berrier has informed US lawmakers. Berrier, who is a director of the Defense Intelligence Agency made these remarks while appearing before the members of the Senate Armed Services Committee during a recent congressional hearing.
“In December, India received its initial delivery of the Russian S-400 air defence system, and it intends to operate the system to defend against Pakistani and Chinese threats by June 2022. India continued to develop its own hypersonic, ballistic, cruise, and air defence missile capabilities, conducting multiple tests in 2021. India has a growing number of satellites in orbit, and it is expanding its use of space assets, likely pursuing offensive space capabilities,” said Scott Berrier.
Berrier further said that India is attempting an extensive military modernisation effort surrounding air, ground, naval and strategic nuclear forces with focus on domestic defense production. New Delhi is also working to establish Integrated Theatre Commands that will improve joint capability between its three military services.
From 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been emphasizing strengthening India’s economy by expanding its domestic defense industry.
Scott Berrier further drew attention to India and Russia’s strong defence partnership. He said, India’s long standing defence relationship with Russia remains strong, they have held their first 2+2 dialogue in December, which India previously held only with the US, Japan and Australia. He further pointed out India’s neutral stance on Russia over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine while continuing to call for peace.
As per Berrier’s observation India continued to implement its foreign policy projecting India’s role as a leading power and net provider of security in the Indian Ocean region.
“India seeks to promote prosperity and ensure stability in the Indo-Pacific region by seeking strategic partnerships to build influence through bilateral and multilateral mechanisms such as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Berrier said.
Talking about India’s security concerns from its neighbours like Afghanistan,Pakistan and China, he said that India is concerned about potential attacks by terrorists backed by groups like LeT and JeM. India continues counterterrorism operations in Kashmir and frequent skirmishes between the Indian and Pakistani army will continue, he added.
Post galwan valley clash, India and China, both countries have held bilateral diplomatic and military talks. However, tensions continue to persist between the two nations. Both the countries maintain close to 50,000 troops along with artillery, tanks, and multiple rocket launchers, and continue to build infrastructure near the LAC.