Sunday, 21 October, 2018

United States may permit India to buy Russian S-400 missile system

Alexander Avilov  Moskva News Agency Alexander Avilov Moskva News Agency
Gerardo Duncan | 07 October, 2018, 00:46

The deal to purchase the long-range surface-to-air missile systems was signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.

The threat of United States sanctions against buyers of Russian weapons - imposed most recently on China - is not expected to affect the Indian contract, which covers five regiments worth, Putin's foreign affairs aide Yuri Ushakov said.

India's decision to purchase the S-400 flies in the face of the United States imposing sanctions on countries buying Russian military hardware, as happened with China last month.

Russian Federation signed a deal with India to supply five regiments of S-400 anti-aircraft missiles to India, Interfax news agency quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying on Friday. He noted that "if we move at such pace, we will reach the target ahead of time and will continue expansion".

But Russia remains number one, and a string of new deals with the Asian giant would be a major win for Moscow - and a big snub to the US. However, U.S. arms exports to India rose by 557 percent between 2008-2012 and 2013-2017, according to SIPRI.

"The S-400 range would enable India to track aircraft beyond its borders, making it a valuable asset as the People's Liberation Army Air Force extends its training and deployments closer to Indian territory", said Zoe Stanley Lockman, an associate research fellow at Singapore's Nanyang Technological University. It wants to bolster ties with New Delhi to counter China s growing assertiveness, something that has also rattled India. India's exports, however, were valued at just over $2 billion, while Russian Federation exported goods worth $8.5 billion.

Although the deal was not mentioned when the two leaders appeared before reporters, a joint statement after the talks said that the two sides welcomed the agreement.

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. The deal has been inked despite concerns flagged by the USA, which has slapped sanctions on Russian Federation, about the purchase of the missile systems capable of knocking down jets, missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles at a range of 400km. Rostec CEO Sergey Chemezov said that "The S-400 supply agreement with India is a new landmark in the history of military-technical cooperation between our countries".

"India being described as the bright star has become the sixth largest economy and is on way to become the fifth largest", the prime minister said.

Russian Federation and India denounced terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and reiterated the need to combat worldwide terrorism with decisive and collective response without any double standards, the statement said.

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