India signs $5bn deal to purchase Russian S-400 missile system

President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Narendra Modi sign deal despite the looming threat of sanctions by the US.

    Putin shakes hands with Modi ahead of their meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi [Adnan Abidi/Reuters]
    Putin shakes hands with Modi ahead of their meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi [Adnan Abidi/Reuters]

    India has signed a $5bn deal to buy a Russian S-400 air defence system despite the looming threat of sanctions by the United States on countries that trade with Russia's defence and intelligence sectors.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed the deal in New Delhi on Friday and discussed nuclear energy, space exploration and economics.

    The two leaders are expected to ink nearly 20 bilateral agreements in areas such as defence, nuclear energy, space exploration and trade.

    The Kremlin said the $5bn missile deal was a "key feature" of the agreements. Officials confirmed the deal was signed after Putin and Modi made no reference to it during a news conference following their talks.

    India has requested a waiver from US sanctions intended to punish Russia for its annexation of Crimea and alleged interference in the 2016 US elections.

    However, it is unlikely sanctions will be waived.

    India's PTI news agency quoted a US State Department spokesperson as saying the "S-400 air and missile defence system" would be a particular focus for the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

    CAATSA was passed to sanction any country that trades with Russia's defence and intelligence sectors.

    The US did not spare China from sanctions last month when it purchased the S-400 systems and fighter jets.

    Experts say India needs the sophisticated S-400 to fill critical gaps in its defence capabilities [Reuters]

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies


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