India and Russian Federation are expected to conclude several defence deals worth close to $10 billion for five S-400 air defence systems, four stealth frigates and Ak-103 assault rifles. This deal may attract economic sanctions from the US under CAATSA, since US President Donald Trump is yet to certify the deal. One of the main expectations from the summit is associated with the likely signing of an agreement on the purchase by India of the Russian S-400 Triumf air defense system.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomes Russian President Vladimir Putin to New Delhi on Thursday. The official programme begins Friday morning with a breakfast followed by delegation level talks. The meeting comes four-and-a-half months after the informal summit between the two leaders in the Russian city of Sochi.
The sophisticated missile system will not be the only deal on the table.
Putin's visit comes nearly exactly a month after the first 2+2 dialogue with the USA, where James Mattis and Mike Pompeo discussed exactly this scenario with Nirmala Sitharaman and Sushma Swaraj.
The spotlight will be on the S-400 missile defence system deal as, if signed, it could violate US sanctions under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) instituted by the US Congress on arms purchases from Russian Federation. The current uncertainties in the oil market, especially about how many Iranian barrels will be lost to US sanctions, will persist for at least another month until the market gets some clarity on the Iran sanctions, Novak noted. Sources said that details, including technology transfer and indigenous content, are being worked out.
The Trump administration however, still has to certify to Congress that India is reducing its weapons buys from Russian Federation.
Nevertheless, an amendment to the act allows Trump to grant waivers on a case-by-case basis. The waiver provision will be available to India, Indonesia and Vietnam. The US is now India's second biggest arms supplier. Last month, the United States imposed sanctions on China's military for its purchase of combat fighters as well as the S-400 missile system it bought from Russian Federation this year. "The Administration has indicated that a focus area for the implementation of CAATSA Section 231 is new or qualitative upgrades in capability - including the S-400 air and missile defence system", the spokesperson said. Moreover, a militarily potent India is central to the U.S. strategy in the wider Indo-Pacific. This declaration signed by Afghanistan, China, Iran, Pakistan, Russia and Turkey underscored that "for ensuring global and regional peace and stability, the issue of Jammu and Kashmir needs peaceful resolution by Pakistan and India in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions".
He will also interact with a group of talented children and address an India-Russia business meet. If this was in the United States or in the bigger European countries, it would have been politically controversial.
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