Russia, India announce major air defence system deal

Putin calls ex-spy Skripal a 'scumbag' and 'traitor'

Putin calls ex-spy Skripal a 'scumbag' and 'traitor'

Image: China also bought Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile launching systems.

India and Russia on Friday concluded the much expected deal for the S-400 Triumf air defence missile system following the annual bilateral summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The volume of trade between Russia and India exceeded $9 billion a year ago and is set to grow further with the nations aiming to boost trade and encourage investments, according to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The S-400 has three components - the missile launchers themselves, a powerful radar and a command centre.

After signing a pact with Russian President Vladimir Putin for ISRO's ambitious human space mission project called "Gaganyaan" on Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi that Russia has committed full support to the initiative.

Alluding to the fact that CAATSA is only a way to grab larger part of the Indian defence pie, Ambassador Trigunayat said, "S-400 is essential for us".

India has requested that the United States grant it a waiver for the deal from sanctions prescribed by a USA law passed in August 2017 that is meant to punish Russian Federation for its annexation of Crimea and alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. elections. In recent years, the USA has also become a significant source, with purchases adding up to $15 billion over the past decade. "We can not prejudge any sanctions decisions", Lee added.

However, India is hoping to get a waiver from the United States on the grounds that it needs the missiles for its self defence keeping in view the fragile security situation in the South Asian region.

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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a visit to New Delhi last month that discussions were continuing over whether to grant waivers to India from U.S. sanctions on Russian Federation and Iran, India's second-largest oil supplier.

"Russia has stood by India through time and has played a crucial role in India's growth story", he said.

Russian Federation is a major energy partner of India, he said, adding there is a need to increase cooperation in new and renewable energy also. As per the procedure, the source also said that India would pay about 15% in advance, likely through the rupee-rouble mechanism both countries use for trade in their own currencies.

Ahead of his meeting, Modi tweeted, "Welcome to India, President Putin".

Last year India and China had a military standoff over a Himalayan plateau claimed by Beijing and Bhutan, a close ally of India.

Moscow is also pushing for India's entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group, a club of countries controlling access to sensitive nuclear technology. "If you let the Americans make the arms procurement decisions for you once, it will happen again and again".

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