India, Russia Forge S-400 Missile Deal; Ignore US Threat

NEW DELHI — Ignoring the threat of US sanc­tions, India has signed a multi-billion deal with Russia for sourcing S-400 long-range missile systems from the country.

“The sides welcomed the conclusion of the contract for the supply of the S-400 long range surface to air missile system to India,” according to a joint press statements follow­ing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s bilater­al meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday.

Putin is on a two-day visit to India to at­tend the nineteenth Indo-Russia annual bi­lateral summit.

Signing the S-400 deal valued at an esti­mated $5 billion was high on Putin’s agenda, but with the US suggesting that the deal may lead to sanctions against India as well, there was some uncertainty.

US officials had warned that the gov­ernment could impose sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act or CAATSA legislation, which deals primarily with countries hav­ing “significant transactions” with Russia, North Korea or Iran.

India wants the long-range missile sys­tems to tighten its air defence mechanism, particularly along the nearly 4,000-km-long Sino-India border.

S-400 is known as Russia’s most ad­vanced long-range surface-to-air missile defence system. China was the first foreign buyer to seal a government-to-government deal with Russia in 2014 to procure the lethal missile system. Moscow has already started delivery of an undisclosed number of the S-400 missile systems to Beijing.

Eight pacts signed

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin also signed eight pacts at the end of the annual summit. The pacts including on cooperation on India’s ambitious human space mission project Gaganyaan, were signed.

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.

Pacts were also inked in the fields of space, nuclear energy, railways and space.

A crucial MoU was signed between Indi­an Space Research Organization (ISRO) and the Federal Space Agency of Russia ‘ROS­COSMOS’ on joint activities in the field of human spaceflight programme Gaganyaan.

India and Russia are committed to cooperating in the fight against terror­ism, Modi said.

President Putin said the two countries have agreed to step up cooperation in com­bating the menace of terrorism and drug trafficking.

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