The Indian government of Narendra Modi after a protracted negotiation finally clinched the deal to buy the Russian S -400 missile shield for $5 billion. The urgency of procuring this shield was apparent after China went and deployed the system. The US president Donald Trump is not happy with this deal and wants India to cancel the deal in the light of the new strategic relationship between India and the US.

RT News has reported that the US has now offered Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) and Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3) missile defense systems to India. This counteroffer is an effort to stop India from buying the Russian weapon system.

The details of the offer are not yet known, but the aim is to outweigh the $5 billion deal India has signed with Russia. It is reported that the US will also not be averse to selling the F-35 state of art fighter to the IAF.

The US cautions India

The Narendra Modi government has so far not reacted to the American offer, but it appears the Pentagon has advised the US President to be pragmatic on the S -400 deal, given so many other lucrative contracts for the Indian defense forces.

India already operates the Chinook attack helicopter and howitzers. The latest version of drones is in the pipeline from the US. MSN has reported that the USA has cautioned India on going ahead with the deal with Russia saying that defense ties may be at risk. But it is apparent that the US will apply a different yardstick to India compared to Turkey where the US has taken a very tough stand against Erdogan.

The cutting edge

The S-400 missile system is an advanced air defense shield. The American system is similar, but it is more costly, and the cutting edge in favor of the Russian system is the transfer of technology. The Russians are ready to share some technology of the system and allow local manufacture while the American manufacturers do not carry out any transfer of technology. Unlike Turkey, which is a comparative smaller power, the US may not like to burn bridges with India.

Donald Trump and economics

Donald Trump, who recently toasted a Modi win in the elections, is a man who sees a deal which benefits the US. In this case, he may very well overlook the Indian acquisition of the S-400 system, in case the Indians assure that they will buy billions of dollars worth military hardware from the US. This is pure economics, and Trump, who has a penchant in this field may well opt for more lucrative defense deals than to make an issue of the purchase of the S-400 system. Unfortunately, Turkey does not have this luxury.

As things stand the Defence Secretary Pompeo is visiting Delhi, and it is on the cards, he will try and sell the American air defense system to India in place of the S-400, but Modi cannot back out from his commitment to Russia to buy the missile system. It is likely that in the ultimate analysis India may well buy the S-400 system and counter this purchase with a massive arms deal worth billions from the US.

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