Diplomacy

Despite US Warnings, India Signs S-400 Missile Deal With Russia

Last month, the United States imposed sanctions on China's military for its purchase of combat fighters as well as the S-400 missile system it bought from Russia this year.

New Delhi: India agreed a deal with Russia to buy S-400 surface to air missile systems on Friday as New Delhi disregarded US warnings that such a purchase could trigger sanctions under US law.

Although there was no public signing, the deal was sealed during President Vladimir Putin’s ongoing visit to New Delhi for an annual summit.

“The deal was signed on the fringes of the summit,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Reuters. The contract is estimated to be worth more than $5.43 billion (Rs 40,000 crore) deal and gives the Indian military the ability to shoot down aircraft and missiles at unprecedented ranges. It is among the largest defence deals India has ever made.

India is also reportedly planning on acquiring 4 Krivak-class frigates from Russia, two of which will be built in India, which will be a $2.5 billion deal.

The S-400 Triumf – an upgraded version of the S-300 systems – is an air defence system that can shoot out enemy aircraft from the surface. 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. At present, Russia is also embroiled in negotiations with Qatar to sell the S-400 systems.

But the United States has said countries trading with Russia’s defence and intelligence sectors would face automatic sanctions under a sweeping legislation called Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

A State Department spokesperson said this week that the implementation of the sanctions act would be focused at countries acquiring weapons such as the S-400 missile batteries.

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Last month, the United States imposed sanctions on China’s military for its purchase of combat fighters as well as the S-400 missile system it bought from Russia this year.

India is hoping that President Donald Trump’s administration will give it a waiver on the weapons systems which New Delhi sees as a deterrent against China’s bigger and superior military.

After summit talks between Putin and Modi, the two countries signed eight agreements covering space, nuclear energy and railways at a televised news conference.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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