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Russia's plan to sell S-400 missiles to China may rile India

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S-400 Triumph air defence missile systems. Phot: RIA Novosti (Valeriy Melnikov)

BEIJING (PTI): Russia's reported plan to sell advanced S-400 anti-aircraft missile system to China may rile wary neighbours, especially India, as Moscow and Beijing moved closer in the backdrop of deepening Ukrainian crisis, according to a media report.

A recent comment by Kremlin's chief of staff, Sergei Ivanov, "the chances that China may be the first foreign buyer of S-400s are high," cited by official Voice of Russia, has sparked off speculation that the two countries have moved closer to clinch the deal that was dragged since 2010.

Security experts feel that the much awaited deal between Beijing and Moscow over the sale of S-400 anti-aircraft missile system can dramatically alter the balance of power in South China sea and in South Asia.

With a range of 400 km, the S-400 can engage up to 36 targets simultaneously with as many as 72 missiles at altitudes of five meters to 30 km, Hong Kong based South China Morning Post reported.

The S-400 Triumph, a new-generation system upgraded from the S-300, which the PLA is using, is capable of countering all air attack weapons, including tactical and strategic aircraft, ballistic missiles and hypersonic targets such as the US' F-35 fighter jet.

If approved, it will be the third big arms deal between Beijing and Moscow since last year.

Moscow was initially reluctant to sell its S-400 missile system for fear of China reproducing them using its re-engineering skills, but west's decision to punish and isolate Russia in the aftermath of the Ukraine crisis had drawn Moscow closer to Beijing.

Wang Xudong, an adviser on satellites to Chinese government, said, "The PLA is expecting to learn some particular missile technologies from the S-400 system. I think China will soon produce a new type of anti-aircraft missile that compares with S-400 because Chinese are [good] copycats."

China and Russia are expected to cooperate further on developing the IL-476 transport aircraft and IL-78 airborne refuelling tanker, according to state media in both countries.

Macau-based military expert Antony Wong Dong said, "It's not clear [how] the military cooperation between Beijing and Moscow will go, but the US would definitely keep a close eye on it."

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Russia  S-400  Missile  China  India  
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