Putin lands in Delhi with his arms bazaar


Mr Putin was greeted by foreign minister Sushma Swaraj at the airport yesterday. Later, Modi hosted a private dinner for the visiting dignitary. The two leaders greeted each other informally at the Russian resort in Sochi in May and then the two shook hands at BRICS Summit that was held in South Africa.

The sale of Russian long-range surface-to-air missile systems is a sticking point as it is unclear whether India will receive a waiver from Washington on US sanctions meant to punish Russia for its annexation of Crimea and alleged interference in the 2016 USA elections. Apart from signing a number of agreements, Modi and Putin are also likely to discuss various regional and globals issues today.

In an interview with Bloomberg Television, the Russian minister also said that oil prices are now influenced by the uncertainty with Iran, as well as falling Venezuelan production.

Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold annual talks on Friday and oversee the signing of a slew of agreements, India's External Affairs Ministry said.

According to a report, India and Russian Federation will sign a deal for the multi-billion-dollar S-400 surface-to-air missile system this week. US' stand effectively means that any country that engages in defence or intelligence sharing with Russian Federation could also be subject to sanctions.

Nevertheless, an amendment to the act allows Trump to grant waivers on a case-by-case basis. Under the CAATSA (Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act), which was passed unanimously by the US Congress and signed by President Donald Trump, countries doing business with Russian, Iranian and North Korean defence companies will face sanctions.

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

India wants to procure the long-range missile systems to tighten its air defence mechanism, particularly along the almost 4,000-kilometre-long Sino-India border.

"Moscow has been negotiating to sell the S-400 long-range surface-to-air missiles to India for months".

But Russia remains India's main arms supplier, and a string of new deals with the Asian giant would be a major win for Moscow - and a big snub to the US.

On Wednesday, a U.S. State Department spokesperson indicated in Washington that the waiver provisions may not apply to India in this deal.

India is now looking to upgrade and diversify its capabilities, and sees the S-400 missile systems as a game-changer. "India is optimistic of a waiver and they can be optimistic once, but it cannot be a free ticket", a USA diplomatic source said. The current uncertainties in the oil market, especially about how many Iranian barrels will be lost to USA sanctions, will persist for at least another month until the market gets some clarity on the Iran sanctions, Novak noted.