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Russia begins deliveries of S-400 defense system to India despite US sanctions threat

Russia's President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of their meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India, on December 6, 2021. (Photo by Reuters)

Russia and India have signed a mass of trade and arms deals on the margins of a summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

During Putin’s visit to New Delhi for the 21st India-Russia Summit, the two sides concluded 28 trade and arms pacts including one for manufacturing more than 600,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles and another on responding to cyber attacks on banks.

Putin’s travel to New Delhi, along with Russia's defense and foreign ministers, also saw the extension of Moscow and New Delhi’s military-technical cooperation pact by another 10 years. The two sides are also set to boost annual trade to $30 billion and annual investment to $50 billion by 2025.

A joint statement published after the talks said Russia and India had “reiterated their intention to strengthen defense cooperation, including in the joint development of production of military equipment.”

Putin described India as a “great power, a friendly nation and a time-tested friend,” while announcing his government’s readiness to continue providing S-400 air defense missile systems for the Indian Army.

“Supplies have begun this month, and will continue to happen,” said Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, referring to the S-400.

The deal with Moscow puts India at risk of US sanctions as it prohibits countries from buying Russian military hardware. The US has already expressed reservations about the growing military cooperation between Moscow and New Delhi.


🇮🇳🇷🇺 | Welcoming India’s trusted friend and longstanding partner.

PM @narendramodi welcomed Russian President Vladimir Putin @KremlinRussia_E for the 21st India-Russia Annual Summit.

— Arindam Bagchi (@MEAIndia) December 6, 2021


Briefing reporters on the talks between the two leaders, Shringla said the bilateral pacts also included deals on steel, shipbuilding, coal, energy and geological exploration.

“Essentially, what we are looking at is long-term arrangements whereby the essential commodities that we need from Russia are available on some sort of arrangement that could be to our mutual benefit,” Shringla said. 

Since 2018, the two countries have been attempting to strengthen the ties, with Modi attending an informal summit with Putin in the Russian city of Sochi.

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