India signs $5 billion deal for Russian air defence systems
India signs $5 billion deal for Russian air defence systems
Mike Segar Reuters
07 October, 2018, 00:41
It is Russia's most advanced long-range surface-to-air missile defence system and can destroy hostile bombers, jets, drones and missiles at a range of approximately 380-km.
Brushing aside the threat of American sanctions, India on Friday signed the much-anticipated S-400 long range surface-to-air missile defence system deal with Russian Federation that is expected to bolster the defence preparedness of the country.
Russian Federation remains India's top weapons supplier, and the United States is number two. Turkey also is planning to buy the S-400, despite USA opposition to the purchase by a fellow North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member. Russian Federation has been an important supplier of defence hardware to India for decades. "We always arrive in India with great pleasure as we know that we are surrounded here in the environment of very frank friendship, business cooperation", Putin said.
India therefore could expect to gain a sympathetic ear if it seeks a waiver from the USA sanctions, but President Donald Trump's administration has signalled this is unlikely.
"Since April, India has not made any payments to Russian Federation for weapons purchase". "We can not prejudge any sanctions decisions", the US Embassy spokesperson added. However, U.S. arms exports to India rose by 557 percent between 2008-2012 and 2013-2017, according to SIPRI.
New Delhi is expected to request a special waiver from the US for the purchase, but it remains unclear whether the Trump administration, which believes the S-400 could access sensitive military technology, will accede.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Putin, who held their annual summit, did not mention the S-400 deal in their respective press statements.
"Russia has stood by India through time and has played a crucial role in India's growth story", he said.
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The Russian leader will also interact with a group of children and will address an India-Russia business meet. India is expected to receive the first S-400 regiment two years after the signing date of the contract.
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