Russian Federation and India sign R73 billion air-defense deal

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at the Russian Energy Week International Forum in Moscow on Wednesday

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".

The S-400 Missile is one of the world's most advanced long-range air defence systems.

The dinner meeting comes a day ahead of the 19th India-Russia annual summit during which the two leaders will hold comprehensive discussions on wide-ranging bilateral, regional and global issues, including USA sanctions against Moscow and counter-terrorism cooperation.

India has requested that the USA grant it a waiver for the deal from sanctions prescribed by the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, a US law passed in August 2017 that is meant to punish Russian Federation for its annexation of Crimea and alleged interference in the 2016 US elections.

The deal was signed despite a warning by the United States that it would impose sanctions on India if the agreement went through.

Qatar, China and Saudi Arabia have already bought or are planning to purchase the anti-aircraft missile weapon from Russian Federation.

However, the spokesperson said, "the waiver authority is not for a blanket waiver".

Statistics showed trade between Russian Federation and India increased by 20 percent in the period January to July, amounting to more than $6 billion. 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. A crucial MoU was signed between the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and the Federal Space Agency of Russia "ROSCOSMOS" on joint activities in the field of the human spaceflight programme Gaganyaan.

Modi said the trade between the two nations has risen 20 per cent in 2017-18.

Officials confirmed the Russia-India deal after the two leaders failed to mention it during a news conference after their meeting.

Russian Federation has been one of India's key suppliers of arms and ammunition.

"India has maintained its sovereignty as regards to its relationship with countries".

The deal, said analysts, demonstrates that India is seeking a balance as it steadily grows strategic ties with Washington, but is unwilling to forgo its long-standing defense partnership with Russian Federation.

"Our countries have mutual benefits in supporting struggle against terrorism, Afghanistan and Indo-Pacific events, climate change, organisations like SCO, BRICS, G20 and ASEAN. We have agreed to continue cooperation with these worldwide organisations", he added.

Named after former Indian Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) is a flagship initiative school set up by India's policy think tank NITI Aayog to promote innovation and entrepreneurship among future generations.

The two countries have a little time to hash things out: the USA sanctions kick in when India starts paying for the missile systems, not from the time a deal is reached, experts said. "We have also discussed the situation that came as a result of action of United States to withdraw from Iran deal", Putin added.

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