Amidst a global uproar against China over various issues including a military standoff with India, Beijing’s ties with Moscow appears to have hit a roadblock with the latter announcing a postponement of delivery of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems to Beijing. The S-400 air defence missile system is considered the most advanced of its kind in Russia, capable of destroying targets at a distance of up to 400 kilometres and a height of up to 30 kilometres.
China received the first batch of S-400 missile in 2018, a military-diplomatic source told Russia’s TASS news agency. Citing Chinese newspaper Sohu, UAWire reported that this time, Russia announced the postponement of the delivery of missiles for the Chinese S-400 system. To a certain extent, it can be said that it is for the sake of China. Getting a gun is not as easy as signing an invoice after receiving a weapon.
Sohu said that they say that the work on delivering these weapons is quite complicated. While China has to send personnel for training, Russia also needs to send a lot of technical personnel to put the weapons into service. Amidst a military standoff between India and China, many experts believe that the move could be considered as pro-China.
It appears that cracks have started to appear in relations between Beijing and Moscow relations. Recently, Russia has accused one of its leading Arctic researchers of treason, alleging that he gave sensitive information to China. China has tried to play down the development by saying that Moscow was forced to make such a decision as it is worried that the delivery of S-400 missiles at this time will affect the anti-pandemic actions of the People’s Liberation Army and does not want to cause trouble to China.
Watchers of Russia-China relations believe the spying allegations against an Arctic researcher could highlight a burgeoning competition between the two countries in the region, according to CNN. Russia is an important strategic and military ally of India. Last month, Defence Minister visited Russia and met with Russian leadership who assured New Delhi that ongoing defence contracts will not just be maintained but will be executed soon.
The remarks come just days after the Galwan skirmish. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh after meeting with Russia deputy Prime Minister Yury Ivanovich Borisov on June 23, had said that India’ s new defence proposals have received a positive response from the Russian side.