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


"We have to do this as early as possible", he said. USA defence contactors such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Sirkorsky who supply critical equipment to India the C-17, C-130 J transport aircraft, Apache and Chinook helicopters, will come under sanctions in the absence of a waiver.

The law, known as the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), threatens to impinge on India's massive defence trade with Russian Federation. At present, Russian Federation is also embroiled in negotiations with Qatar to sell the S-400 systems. U.S. officials have also repeatedly warned North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey against its planned deployment of the S-400s.

"We were able to talk face-to-face without any rush about then critical problems in the world, discuss issues of principle in the development of Russian-Indian cooperation and lay out new horizons", Mr. Putin told journalists on Friday.

Addressing the businesses, Putin said the economic cooperation between the countries is growing at a healthy rate.

India "cannot be put in a position where, in effect, Washington decides what kind of relationship they have with these other countries", said Ashley Tellis, a former senior Bush administration official and longtime India expert. If Washington shrugs off the deal and just lets it go, and doesn't punish New Delhi, then that will be an indication that the U.S. is willing to make exceptions for its best friends, he says.

The joint statement also said that the two sides agreed to converge their efforts to eradicate terrorist networks, their sources of financing, arms and fighters supply channels, to counter terrorist ideology, propaganda and recruitment. But it is also likely to strain ties with Washington.

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But Russia still remains India's biggest military equipment supplier, accounting for 62 percentof India's total weapons imports during the past five years, according to the Stockholm Peace Research Institute.

Russian Federation is a major energy partner of India, he said, adding there is a need to increase cooperation in new and renewable energy also.

The deal, said analysts, demonstrates that India is seeking a balance as it steadily grows strategic ties with Washington, but is unwilling to forgo its long-standing defense partnership with Russian Federation.

"There are also promising projects in high tech areas like aviation and space", he said adding, "we want to broaden the presence of Indian businesses in Russia". India would be purchasing the S-400 advanced missiles from Russian Federation for $5 billion (Rs 3,691 crore at current price).

REUTERS/Adnan Abidi 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.

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has characterized the missile deal as "maybe the thorniest problem now bedeviling US-India strategic partnership".