Ahead of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to India for a summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Cabinet Committee has approved the purchase of S-400 Triumf air-defence systems, the Times of India has reported. Putin will be in New Delhi for the 19th Indo-Russian summit with Modi on 5 October.
According to the daily, the government has decided to go ahead with the purchase, ignoring the threat of sanctions from the United States.
This development comes after the US said, according to Reuters, that it can’t guarantee a waiver from sanctions if India purchases weapons from Russia. Under US’ sanctions on Russia, any country engaging with Moscow’s defence sector could face secondary sanctions from Washington.
“We would still have very significant concerns if India pursued major new platforms and systems (from Russia),” Randall Schriver, the Pentagon’s top Asia official, has been quoted by the agency as saying.
“I can’t sit here and tell you that they would be exempt, that we would use that waiver, that will be the decision of the president if he is faced with a major new platform and capability that India has acquired from Russia,” he added.
India has argued that it can’t cut off its defence ties with Russia as a large part of its equipment is of Russian or Soviet origin. Around 60 per cent of India’s defence imports come from Russia. However, in the last one decade, India has diversified its sources of defence equipment to include the US. India has signed multiple multi-billion deals with US-based firms. In numbers, the India-US defence trade has risen from near zero to over $15 billion.
India was hoping to get a waiver from the US for the deal.
The Donald Trump administration, earlier this week, imposed sanctions on China for buying S-400 systems from Russia.