India inks missile deal with Russian Federation

India inks missile deal with Russian Federation

India inks missile deal with Russian Federation

Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in India for a two-day visit during which the two countries are expected to sign a $5 billion deal for Russian S-400 missile systems despite the spectre of USA sanctions.

The bonhomie between the two leaders was very much in evidence as Modi welcomed the Russian leader with a hug before the two leaders went into a restricted meeting followed by delegation-level talks at the majestic Hyderabad House.

The S-400's latest and most advanced missile system, the 40N6 SAM - the export variant of the missile is designated 40N6E - will most likely not be part of the initial delivery.

But Andrey Slepnev, Director of Russia Export Center, struck a positive not and dismissed U.S. actions as "illegal" and reaffirmed the need for continuity in bilateral cooperation between India and Russia.

"It is also politically important in that it signals that India will not abandon Russian Federation as a supplier because of USA pressure".

Talks with President Putin have given new direction to the bilateral strategic partnership, Modi said in a press statement after the 19th India-Russia annual summit. Other countries will be watching closely: Vietnam and Indonesia, which also make significant arms purchases from Russian Federation, could find themselves in the same predicament as India.

However, the US Embassy spokesperson stressed that waiver on CAATSA will be considered on a transaction-by-transaction basis as no sanctions decisions can be prejudged. The US is now India´s second biggest arms supplier.

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However, India has requested a waiver from possible U.S. sanctions meant to punish Moscow over Russia's annexation of Crimea and its alleged interference in the 2016 USA elections.

The president of state-run Russian bank VTB, Andrei Kostin, said in Delhi on Friday that the two countries aimed to triple the two-way flow of goods and services to $30 billion.

Under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act approved by Congress last July, President Trump has the power to impose sanctions on countries that procure military equipment from individual companies in Russia, Iran, and North Korea, including the S-400 maker.

New Delhi, which does not want to jeopardize its growing ties with Washington, is optimistic about avoiding US sanctions.

Other agreements - following a meeting between Putin and Prime Modi that began with a hug - were in railways and fertilisers and space, with Russian Federation undertaking to train astronauts for India´s first crewed space mission in 2022.

While saying that Russian Federation is committed to deepening ties with India, Putin invited Indian energy companies to expand their businesses in Russian Federation.

Experts fear India is flexing its military muscles as Mr Modi stands up to China's People Liberation Army and Beijing's influence around the Indian Ocean.

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