India quietly seals missile deal with Russian Federation despite U.S

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Russian President Vladimir Putin will arrive here Thursday on a two-day visit during which India and Russia are likely to sign a deal to procure S-400 air defence systems and deliberate on key regional and global issues, including U.S. sanctions on import of Iranian crude oil.

Although there was no public signing, the deal was sealed during President Vladimir Putin's ongoing visit to New Delhi for an annual summit with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"The key feature of this visit will be the signing of the agreement to deliver S-400 air defence systems.The value of the contract will be more than United States dollars 5 billion", Putin's top foreign policy aide Yury Ushakov said while talking to the media recently.

India is the world's biggest arms importer and is undergoing a $100-billion upgrade of its ageing hardware, much of it of Soviet vintage including MiG jets that have frequently crashed in the Indian countryside.

Modi's government, caught in the U.S. -Russia crossfire, hopes the Trump administration will give it a pass on the proposed arms transfer from Russian Federation, officials in New Delhi said. China has also perturbed India by loaning vast amounts of money to countries such as Sri Lanka where it has long held sway. The two will also discuss the United States sanctions against Russian Federation and cooperation on counter-terrorism.

"The (two) sides welcomed the conclusion of the contract for the supply of S-400 long range surface to air missile system to India", India and Russian Federation said in a joint statement at the end of the talks. China was the first foreign buyer to seal a government-to-government deal with Russian Federation in 2014 to procure the lethal missile system and Moscow has already started delivery of an undisclosed number of the S-400 missile systems to Beijing.

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"Negotiation on S-400 air defence systems has been on for a long while and it is at a stage where it can be finalised", Sitharaman said last week. The missile system, manufactured by Almaz-Antey, has been in service in Russian Federation since 2007.

The India-Russia annual bilateral summit has sent out a clear message that India will pursue an independent foreign policy.

Other topics of discussion would cover regional and global issues, including the United States sanctions on the import of crude oil, reports Asian Age.

Today, upon the arrival of the Russian president, Modi tweeted, "Welcome to India, President Putin".

The number of agreements were signed in different areas to enhance relations between Russian Federation and India.

The last India-Russia bilateral summit was held in Russia on June 1, 2017.

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