New Delhi to receive S-400s in 18-19 months

The S-400 is considered one of the best air defense systems in the world. (File/AFP)
Updated 10 September 2019

New Delhi to receive S-400s in 18-19 months

  • Delivery of air defense systems will boost India’s military modernization drive

NEW DELHI: In a major boost to India’s defense modernization, New Delhi will get the first delivery of S-400 air defense missile systems from Russia in less than two years.

“The advance payment has been received and everything will be delivered in strict accordance with the schedule, within about 18-19 months,” Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov told state-owned broadcaster Rossiya-1.

The S-400 is considered one of the best air defense systems in the world. India signed the $5.43 billion deal with Russia for the purchase of five of them late
last year. India is also investing heavily to upgrade its navy by building an indigenous, next-generation ballistic missile submarine: The S-5 Class.

Indian Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu visited the Naval Science and Technological Laboratory in the city of Visakhapatnam on Aug. 28 and tweeted a picture of the prototype of the nuclear submarine.

Defense experts say while this new submarine will protect India’s nuclear arsenal, it also adds lethal value to its weaponry. The new submarines will join the existing nuclear-powered Arihant submarines, which are indigenously built.

“India’s defense forces are in a continuous modernization process, and it has a huge budget of $25 billion for that,” Laxman Kumar Behera, a defense expert at the New Delhi-based Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis, told Arab News.

“The army, air force and navy are being upgraded at a fast pace. India is building its own nuclear submarine — it’s not clear how many — but the indigenously built submarine Arihant is already active,” he said.

“India faces two challenges: One from Pakistan and the other from China. New Delhi isn’t so concerned about Islamabad because it enjoys superiority over its neighbor in conventional warfare. The long-term challenge comes from China,” he added.

“Beijing is giving New Delhi a big challenge in the Indian Ocean, and is building and acquiring new assets. It’s building strategic ports around India, and this is the biggest challenge New Delhi faces today.”

Behera said modernizing the navy is a big challenge as India faces budget constraints. “Another challenge is to modernize the air force and have 30-40 combat squadron aircraft,” he added.

He said linking India’s defense modernization to the Kashmir dispute is “far-fetched,” adding: “India enjoys the support of the larger international community on its Kashmir policy, and it doesn’t need to worry about the security situation.”

He said: “India needs a strong and modern defense force to position itself for a larger geopolitical role in the future.”

This year, India allocated $61.96 billion for its defense budget, around the same as last year.

UK’s Boris Johnson likens himself to The Incredible Hulk

Updated 15 September 2019

UK’s Boris Johnson likens himself to The Incredible Hulk

  • Johnson said he will meet the Oct. 31 deadline no matter what
  • “The madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets,” he told the Mail

LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has compared himself to The Incredible Hulk in a newspaper interview emphasizing his determination to take Britain out of the European Union next month.
Johnson faces considerable legal and political hurdles but told the Mail on Sunday he will meet the Oct. 31 deadline no matter what.
“The madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets,” he told the widely read tabloid, invoking the comic book and film character known for formidable but destructive strength.
Johnson remains defiant even though Parliament has passed a law requiring him to seek an extension to the deadline if no deal is reached by mid-October. He has also lost his working majority in Parliament and been told by Scotland’s highest court that his decision to suspend Parliament was illegal.
Johnson portrays himself as more convinced than ever that Britain will break with the EU at the end of October.
He will have a lunchtime meeting in Luxembourg on Monday with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to try to modify the Irish backstop that has been a main sticking point, but EU leaders did not seem impressed by Johnson’s invocation of the Hulk.
The European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator, Guy Verhofstadt, said the comments showed a lack of maturity.
“Even to Trumpian standards the Hulk comparison is infantile,” he tweeted. “Is the EU supposed to be scared by this? The British public impressed?“
Juncker, who has downplayed hopes of a breakthrough at Monday’s meeting, also expressed alarm that many people in Britain seem to feel a British departure without a deal with the EU would be a positive thing.
“It would be terrible chaos,” he said in an interview with Germany’s Deutschlandfunk radio. “And we would need years to put things back in order. Anyone who loves his country, and I assume that there are still patriots in Britain, would not want to wish his country such a fate.”
The Oct. 31 deadline looms large because Johnson has not said he will seek another extension if no deal is reached, despite legislation passed by Parliament shortly before it was suspended.
Britain’s Supreme Court this week will rule on whether Johnson overstepped the law when he shut the legislature for a crucial five-week period.
The Liberal Democrats, who have been enjoying a revival, voted overwhelmingly at their party conference Sunday to end the Brexit process entirely if they come to power.
Party leader Jo Swinson said Article 50, which triggered Brexit, would be revoked if she becomes prime minister.
The party gained an important member Saturday with the defection of Sam Gyimah, a former Conservative minister. He is the sixth legislator to switch allegiance and join the Liberal Democrats this year.
Johnson also continues to take flak from former Prime Minister David Cameron, who called the 2016 referendum on Brexit.
Cameron said in an interview published Sunday that Johnson didn’t really believe in Brexit when he broke ranks and led the campaign to take Britain out of the EU. Cameron had been expecting Johnson’s help during the hard-fought campaign.
Cameron says of Johnson: “The conclusion I am left with is that he risked an outcome he didn’t believe in because it would help his political career.”
Cameron is giving interviews to gain publicity for his upcoming memoirs.