India, Russia likely to sign arms deal during Putin’s visit

Saul Bowman
October 5, 2018

India and Russian Federation are set to sign defence deals worth over $7 billion at the bilateral summit on Friday, but financial sanctions by the U.S. have cast a shadow as they limit New Delhi's capacity to transfer funds to Moscow.

During the visit, President Putin will hold delegation level talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi tomorrow.

"Next on the itinerary is the signing of bilateral documents, and there are many of them in the portfolio", he said.

Experts say India needs the sophisticated S-400 to fill critical gaps in its defence capabilities, in view of China's rise and perceived threats from Pakistan, against whom India has fought three wars. "The value of the contract will be more than $5 billion".

The Trump administration has passed the CAATSA law under which sanctions will be imposed on countries having significant defence cooperation with Russian Federation, in an attempt to curb Russia's arms sales.


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

The US is now number two, though, supplying the Indian military with advanced hardware like Apache attack helicopters and negotiating the sale of armed drones.

The US on Wednesday urged its allies not to enter into transactions with Russian Federation and warned that it would trigger American sanctions, a day after it was reported that India was planning to purchase multi-billion S-400 missile defence system from Moscow.

The official emphasized that the ultimate target of these sanctions was Russian Federation. The two sides are expected to hold talks on setting up a new payment mechanism independent of the United States controlled dollar trade. "We released him and that was it, he left".

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. "I'm talking about (U.S.) sanctions against Iran", he said through an interpreter at the Russian Energy Week conference in Moscow, during a panel moderated by PBS NewsHour special correspondent Ryan Chilcote. "Both leaders are looking at a long-term, sustained relationship and how to make progress", a source said, signalling that India will not come under pressure from the worldwide community on cutting ties with Russian Federation. Welcoming Modi to Sochi "personally as a big friend" of Russia, Putin said his visit would give a fresh impetus to bilateral ties.

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