India Quietly Approves S-400 Deal Ahead of Modi-Putin Summit

India Quietly Approves S-400 Deal Ahead of Modi-Putin Summit

Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a speech on the Russian Energy Week, on Wednesday, saying that his Washington counterparts are making a "typical" and "colossal" mistake, referring to the sanctions imposed to countries around the world which have threatened the dollar dominance.

"This would potentially be an anomalous situation, wherein the United States would place both India and China in the same "sanctions" basket - unlikely bed-fellows indeed".

Washington and New Delhi announced plans last month for joint military drills in 2019, and agreed on the exchange of sensitive military information.

India and Russian Federation will sign the missile deal, estimated at more than $5 billion, during Putin's visit for annual summit talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi beginning on Thursday, a Kremlin aide said.

But Russia remains India's main arms supplier, and a string of new deals with the Asian giant would be a major win for Moscow - and a big snub to the US.

What is the S-400 missile system?

Seoul: North Korea estimated to have 20-60 nuclear weapons
In 2015, two South Korean soldiers were maimed by what Seoul said was a North Korean landmine, an accusation the North denied. In November 2017, North Korean troops at the JSA shot one of their soldiers defecting to the South five times.

Putin is set to arrive at New Delhi at 6.40 pm, after which he will have a meeting with Modi at 7.30 pm at Lok Kalyan Marg, the principal workplace of the Prime Minister of India. "India has been shopping around for sometime now for air-defence systems", he told Al Jazeera.

The S-400 is an upgraded version of the S-300 systems.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters India was closing in on the deal to buy the air defence system from Russian Federation, with which it has long-standing military ties. In May this year, Mr Modi had traveled to Russian coastal city of Sochi for an informal summit with Mr Putin during which they discussed a range of crucial issues. Moscow is now expanding India's biggest nuclear power plant in Kudankulam.

These aircraft are meant to "showcase the all-weather friendship and deep strategic partnership between India and Russian Federation, which has been put to the test in recent times due to changing geopolitical conditions", the report said.

Besides, an inter-governmental agreement has been signed for Rosatom to construct another six reactors In India at a location yet to be finalised. Despite the robust military cooperation, there was a drift in the ties as Russian Federation remained silent during the 2017 Doklam standoff with China, worked for a larger role in Afghanistan and even began selling arms to Pakistan.

"Though Russia is involved in India's strategic sectors - defence, nuclear energy, hi-tech and infrastructure - bilateral trade is at an sub-optimal level", he said. "The value of the contract will be more than $5 billion", he said.

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