In a huge boost to its defence forces on Friday, India signed a $5 billion deal for the Russian S-400 Triumf missile shield systems in a key pact at the summit talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin, officials said. The agreement was signed in the presence of both the leaders at the 19th India-Russia annual bilateral summit.
The S-400 missile defence system deal could attract American sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) that seeks to punish countries buying weapons from Russia. Moscow has been India’s biggest arms supplier.
However, after the landmark deal was signed, the US embassy said that the sanctions were aimed at punishing Russia and not to damage military capabilities of their allies.
India and Russia also signed seven other deals including those in the fields of railways, space and nuclear power as Modi underlined New Delhi’s special relationship with Moscow.
“Our special strategic partnership will achieve new heights…India gives priority to its relations with Russia. Russia has always been a part of India’s growth story,” Modi said in a joint press meet after the deals were signed.
He also said Indo-Russian cooperation will continue in different fields and across different platforms.
“Our countries have mutual benefits in supporting struggle against terrorism, Afghanistan and Indo-Pacific events, climate change; organisations like SCO, BRICS, G-20 and ASEAN. We have agreed to continue cooperation to these international organisations.”
Putin endorsed Modi saying, “India and Russia are committed to cooperating in fight against terrorism.”
And as the threat of American sanctions looms over India, Putin said, “I have informed the PM about the situation in Syria. We have also discussed the situation that came as a result of action of US to withdraw from Iran deal.”
The Russian president also underlined the strategic Indo-Russian ties by inviting Modi to the Eastern Economic Forum at Vladivostok next year.
“It is my great pleasure to once again invite Prime Minister to participate in the next Vladivostok Forum as the main guest.”
The expected missile deal was signed despite the threat of American sanctions. Last month, the United States imposed sanctions on the Chinese military for buying Russian weapons, including the S-400 missile system said other countries with similar shopping lists should “think twice” about their plans
Friday’s meeting was the third meeting between Modi and Putin this year after an informal meeting in the Russian resort city of Sochi in May and a bilateral on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit in South Africa in July.