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Putin talks arms, nuclear deals in India

07 October 2018

"Both the sides reaffirmed their commitment to enhance military-technical cooperation", a joint statement of the two leaders said on Friday.

The US did not spare China from sanctions last month for purchasing Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile systems and fighter jets. However, the two sides failed to conclude two other major deals, for Stealth frigates and assault rifles, that were reportedly ready, as officials said further negotiations were needed. However, U.S. arms exports to India rose by 557 percent between 2008-2012 and 2013-2017, according to SIPRI.

Significantly, the agreement for the estimated U.S. $5.43 billion (₹40,300 Crores) S-400 system was not referred to by either leader in their press statements.

President Putin was accompanied by a high-level delegation, including Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Trade and Industry Minister Denis Manturov.

"The S-400 is a booster dose for the Air Force", Indian Air Force chief Birender Singh Dhanoa said at his annual press conference in New Delhi on October 3. He also cited the 70 year history of military hardware acquisitions from Russian Federation and pointed out that almost 64 per cent of the military inventory in India is from Russian Federation.

Countries doing business with Russia's defense and intelligence sectors risk automatic penalties under a United States law called Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which Mr Trump introduced previous year. Waivers of CAATSA section 231 will be considered on a transaction-by-transaction basis.

Security analysts in Asia said US' threat of sanctions is being seen as bullying and would not really deter deals like the one India just inked with Russian Federation.

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Moscow is also pushing for India s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group of countries controlling access to nuclear technology. China has also perturbed India by loaning vast amounts of money to countries such as Sri Lanka where it has long held sway.

The S-400 missile defence system deal could result in U.S. sanctions under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

Putin, who was received by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on his arrival, went straight to Modi's official Lok Kalyan Marg residence where the two leaders had a one-on-one meeting.

The pact was signed during talks between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin here.

Earlier in the week, US President Donald Trump had taken a jibe at India saying New Delhi wants to please him by having a trade deal with America. Modi noted that both countries support a multipolar world.

India has been negotiating the missile deal with Russian Federation for three years now.

CAATSA, which came into effect in January 2018, is aimed at punishing Russia for its alleged interference in the 2016 presidential elections and mandates the imposition of economic sanctions on countries importing Russian military hardware.

Putin talks arms, nuclear deals in India