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Russia's President Vladimir Putin Arrives In India, S-400 Deal Likely To Be Signed Despite US Threats

DIVYIA ASTHANA | 0
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| October 4 , 2018 , 19:24 IST

Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in New Delhi on Thursday for a 2-day visit during which India and Russia are expected to sign a deal for procurement of S-400 air defence systems from Russia, despite US warnings of sanctions on India if it continues with the Russian deal.

Russian President Putin was received by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

President Putin along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be holding the 19th India-Russia annual bilateral summit and are also expected to discuss key regional and global issues including US sanctions on import of Iranian crude oil. The two leaders would also review bilateral defence cooperation in the wake of the US sanctions against Russian defence majors.

Ahead of the meet, Putin's top foreign policy aide Yury Ushakov emphasised that focus of the meeting would be on the S-400 air defence system.

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"The key feature of this visit will be the signing of the agreement to deliver S-400 air defence systems," Ushakov said in Moscow.

"The value of the contract will be more than $5 billion," he said.

Meanwhile, the US on Wednesday once again urged its allies to not enter into transactions with Russia, warning that dealing with Russia would trigger US sanctions under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act or CAATSA, which was made into a law last August.

"We urge all of our allies and partners to forgo transactions with Russia that would trigger sanctions under CAATSA," a State Department Spokesperson told PTI.

"The Administration has indicated that a focus area for the implementation of CAATSA Section 231 is new or qualitative upgrades in capability - including the S-400 air and missile defense system," the spokesperson said.

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Although in July this year the US had announced a waiver for India's S-400 deal with Russia, the US changed its stance in September when it imposed sanctions on China over its defence deal with Russia, and warned India of similar action if India proceeds with the S-400 deal.  

Despite the pressure from the US, India has maintained that it will continue with the S-400 deal and that Russia has been an old defence trading partner of India.

"India has maintained its sovereignty as regards to its relationship with countries. We shall maintain it in all earnestness," Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told PTI recently.

The S-400 air and missile defence system is manufactured by Almaz-Antey and is considered to be Russia's most advanced long-range surface-to-air missile defence system.