Friday, 19 October, 2018

Chinese Wary as Putin Visits India for Arms Deal

An S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile system seen in Moscow's Red Square in May 2018 An S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile system seen in Moscow's Red Square in May 2018
Charlie Simmons | 05 October, 2018, 07:36

The Russian-built S-400 Triumf is widely considered as the most effective operationally deployed modern long-range surface-to-air missile (MLR SAM) system in and, therefore, much in demand.

"It is a public law [CAATSA]". He also said that the signing of the deal will be overseen by Putin and Modi.

India is cautiously optimistic about the Trump administration granting a CATSA waiver on the basis of a positive three-hour-plus discussion between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary Defence James Mattis and US NSA John Bolton on September 14 in Washington.

The Kremlin said before the two-day visit by Putin and top ministers that the "key feature" would be the signing of a $5-billion deal for the S-400 air defence system, despite the risk of United States sanctions against countries buying Russian defence kit.

Nevertheless, an amendment to the act allows Trump to grant waivers on a case-by-case basis.

Several U.S. officials have called the S-400, which several U.S. allies too are in the process of acquiring, a "significant transaction".

The U.S. did not spare China from sanctions last month, when it purchased Russian fighter jets and surface-to-air missile equipment. "The waiver is narrow, meant to wean countries off Russian equipment and allow for things such as spare parts for previously-purchased equipment", the official said.

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India has already given indications that it will go ahead with the deal notwithstanding the U.S. sanctions. During the summit, Putin and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are expected to review bilateral defence cooperation.

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

On the strategic front, Russian Federation helped India become a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation this year and has backed New Delhi's long-held demand for a permanent UN Security Council seat.

Moscow is also pushing for India s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group of countries controlling access to nuclear technology.

What is less known is that Mattis and Pompeo spent over an hour with NSA Ajit Doval for a deeper conversation on two contentious issues - imports of Iranian oil post sanctions that will kick in from November 4, and the S-400 from Russian Federation. This chopper deal has already been agreed upon through an inter-governmental agreement. An upgraded version of the S-300 systems, the S-400 missile system, manufactured by Almaz-Antey, has been in service in Russian Federation since 2007.

New Delhi also wants to show that its defence needs can not be subjected to the whims and fancies of another country. He also points out that Russian Federation has always been easier about sharing sophisticated defense technology with India compared to Washington. They are also likely to discuss certain issues of crucial importance, especially Russia's proximity to Pakistan.

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