India to sign S-400 Triumf missile deal with Russia soon, says Nirmala Sitharaman; rejects US sanctions on Moscow

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said the S-400 Triumf air defence missile deal with Russia will go ahead notwithstanding the US sanctions on military transactions with Moscow, reports said. The acquisition is set to cost R 39,000 crore for five of the missile systems.

File photo of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. PTI

File photo of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. PTI

Referring to CAATSA (Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act), under which the Donald Trump administration has imposed sanctions on military deals with Russia, she said it is an American law and not a United Nations law, and India has conveyed its position on the issue to the US.

"Our defence relation with Russia has endured several decades and we have conveyed it to a US Congressional delegation which visited India recently," Sitharaman said at her office in South Block.

She said negotiations with Russia for the S-400 missile deal have almost come to conclusion. The deal has been in discussion for the last few years, long before the recent CAATSA came into effect.

The defence minister also said it may take two and a half to four years to implement the S-400 missile deal after it is signed.

There has been mounting concerns in India over the US sanctions against Russian defence majors including Rosoboronexport as billions of dollars of military purchases may be impacted because of the punitive measure.

The US had announced sanctions against Russia under the stringent law for its alleged meddling in the American presidential election in 2016.

CAATSA mandates the Donald Trump administration to punish entities engaging in a significant transaction with the defence or intelligence establishment of Russia.

News18 reported that India and US were expected to discuss the matter at the 2+2 dialogue scheduled in Washington, but it was postponed by the US. The talks are now expected to be held in September.

India wants to procure the long-range missile systems to tighten its air defence mechanism, particularly along the nearly 4,000-kilometre-long India-China border.

In 2016, India and Russia had signed an agreement on the 'Triumf' interceptor-based missile system which can destroy incoming hostile aircraft, missiles and even drones at ranges of up to 400 kilometres. The S-400 is known as Russia's most advanced long-range surface-to-air missile defence system.

China was the first foreign buyer to seal a government-to-government deal with Russia in 2014 to procure the lethal missile system and Moscow has already started delivery of an unknown number of the S-400 missile systems to Beijing.

The S-400 is an upgraded version of the S-300 systems. The missile system, manufactured by Almaz-Antey, has been in service in Russia since 2007.

With inputs from PTI.


Updated Date: Jul 14, 2018 11:30 AM

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