Russian President Vladimir has arrived India with the intention of sealing a weapons deal worth billions amid threats of sanctions from the United States.
President Narendra Modi tweeted a warm welcome to Putin upon his arrival
20 bilateral agreements will be signed on Friday covering a range of areas such as space exploration, economy, defense, and nuclear energy during official talks.
Moscow hold the signing of the $5 Billion deal for s-400 air defense system with India as the highlight of the trip even though the US has a standing threat of sanctions for any country that trades with Russia’s defense and intelligence sector.
India’s efforts to receive a waiver to this law was refused by the US. The initiative to avoid sanctions was turned down on the eve of Putin’s visit to India. The US is somewhat stuck in a conundrum between upholding this law held under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) and fraying bi-lateral relationship with India which it needs in its check of China’s aggressive expansion.
‘The S-400 is attracting attention due to the US-Trump overhang. With the US’ domestic legislation discouraging countries like India from engaging in ‘significant’ trade with Russia, there is a high-visibility political subtext about how this deal will impact the India-US bilateral,’ said Commodore (retired) Uday Bhaskar, director at The Society for Policy Studies.
‘The US response will be evident by November 5, when both the trade with Russia and the hydrocarbon imports from Iran will come to a tipping point. If the US decides to go ahead with its domestic legislation and invoke penalties/sanctions against New Delhi, it would test the resilience of the India-US bilateral,’ he said.
All of these developments are happening on the back of significant commitments between the US and India.
Washington and New Delhi announced plans last month for joint military drills in 2019 and agreed on the exchange of sensitive military information. The US is now India’s second-biggest arms supplier, trailing Russia who is first.
This move by India may be considered a big snub to the USA. Putin and Modi are also likely to discuss a deal for four Krivak-class frigates worth $2bn and 200 light utility Ka-226 helicopters pegged at $1bn.