‘Unimpressed’ by American Patriot missile system, India turns to Russian S-400

New Delhi—India is to finalize a weapons deal to buy Russian-made S-400 missile defense systems reportedly unimpressed by US-made Patriot missile systems’ repeated failures.

India’s Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is visiting Moscow this week for New Delhi and Moscow to put the final touches to the agreement, which buys the latter six anti-aircraft-cum-anti-missile S-400 systems.

The deal, likely to reach $6 billion in worth, comes despite US sanctions against Russia, and heavy United States lobbying to peddle American arms to the subcontinent.

The New York Times reported on Thursday that the deal serves as a blow to the United States’ ”struggling Patriot missile defense system.”

Sold ostentatiously to Saudi Arabia to highlight Riyadh and Washington’s alliance, the Patriot interceptors have been repeatedly failing against counterattacks by Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement amid the Saudi war on the neighboring country.

“The Patriot system has faced recent scrutiny after it failed to protect Saudi Arabia’s capital from missiles fired by Houthi militants in Yemen,” the paper wrote.

“India wasn’t very impressed with the Patriot compared with the S-400, which wins hands-down in capability, in its availability, service availability. It’s a more efficient system,” it cited Rahul Bedi of Jane’s Information Group as saying.

In March, Foreign Policy magazine published an article, describing Patriot as “a lemon of a missile defense system.”

“On March 25, Houthi forces in Yemen fired seven missiles at Riyadh. Saudi Arabia confirmed the launches and asserted that it successfully intercepted all seven,” that article read.

It, however, added, “There’s no evidence that Saudi Arabia intercepted any missiles at all,” noting, “One interceptor explodes catastrophically just after launch, while another makes a U-turn in midair and then comes screaming back at Riyadh, where it explodes on the ground.”

The Times also reminded that Turkey has also signed a deal with Russia to buy the S-400 system “ignoring American concerns” and despite being a member of the US-led military alliance of NATO.

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