The deal, signed during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit here, however, was underplayed by New Delhi, perhaps in a bid to keep its robust ties with Washington unblemished. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Putin, who held their annual summit, did not mention the S-400 deal in their respective press statements. Government officials also did not publicly announce the inking of the deal. However, official sources confirmed that it was signed — by a joint secretary-level official in the defence ministry from the Indian side.
The official also asserted that the negotiations for S-400 precede US sanctions against Russia by a long period. “It is fulfills a certain defence requirement of the country and, therefore, the government has taken the decision, obviously, in the national interest,” he said.
A joint statement issued after the summit said, “the sides welcomed the conclusion of the contract for the supply of the S-400 Long Range Surface to Air Missile System to India,” the only reference to the deal.
Russian news agency TASS also confirmed the the deal was signed, quoting Russian presidential spokesman Dmitri Peskov as saying, it was concluded “on the sidelines of the visit.” The defence deal is the first for India with Russia after the imposition of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) by Washington against Moscow in August last year.
Eight pacts signed after Modi-Putin summit
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin Friday held the India-Russia annual summit after which eight pacts, including cooperation on India’s ambitious human space mission project Gaganyaan, were signed. Pacts were also inked in the fields of space, nuclear energy, Railways, space, terrorism. A crucial MoU was signed between ISRO and the Federal Space Agency of Russia ‘ROSCOSMOS’ on Gaganyaan. The two countries also agreed to expand nuclear collaboration in third countries. They also said youth interaction will be an important addition to bilateral ties. India and Russia also expressed their support to promoting bilateral trade in national currencies.
Sanctions not to malign allies: US
The US on Friday said its intent to slap sanctions against Russia was not aimed at imposing damage to the military capabilities of its “allies or partners,” shortly after India concluded the S-400 missile deal. Stating that the intent to slap sanctions on Russia was to impose costs for its “malign behaviour”, the US said any waiver will be considered on a transaction-by-transaction basis.