By Gaurav Sharma
Beijing: China has successfully tested the sophisticated S-400 air defence system bought from Russia, a missile for which India struck a deal with Kremlin risking the US sanctions.
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) tested the system last month, successfully shooting down a “simulated ballistic target”.
China had received the last shipments of the weaponry from Russia in July under a $3 billion contract signed in 2015, becoming the first country to import the advanced missile system from Moscow.
In October, India had signed a $5 billion deal with Russia to acquire the air defence system despite the looming threat of sanctions by the US.
The system is designed to destroy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles and it can be used against ground objectives. It is also able to intercept cruise missiles out to a range of about 40 km due to their low altitude flight paths.
A report in the South China Morning Post quoted analysts as saying that Russia appeared to have publicized the test last week to highlight closer military ties between Moscow and Beijing and to promote its S-400 system.
The story was first reported in the Russian media.
Beijing-based military expert Li Jie said the reports showed that Moscow wanted to underscore the relationship at a time when the US was at loggerheads with both Russia and China.
“Despite pressure from the US, the Russian military will increase its cooperation with the PLA in areas such as missiles, shipbuilding, and other sectors,” the Post quoted Li as saying.