PM Modi invites Russian Federation to set up defence industrial park in India

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at the Russian Energy Week International Forum in Moscow on Wednesday

Russian President Vladimir Putin and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed the deal in New Delhi on Friday and discussed nuclear energy, space exploration and economics.

In talks with US officials, India has stressed its need for the air defense system to strengthen its capabilities against the might of China, whose ambitions are moving New Delhi and Washington closer. China signed a deal with Russian Federation in 2015 to buy six battalions of this missile system.

India and Russian Federation also signed eight other pacts, including one on cooperation on India's ambitious human space mission project Gaganyaan, after Modi and Putin held one-on-one and delegation-level talks. The contract is estimated to be worth more than $5 billion and gives the Indian military the ability to shoot down aircraft and missiles at unprecedented ranges. At present, Russian Federation is also embroiled in negotiations with Qatar to sell the S-400 systems.

Jinnie Lee, a spokeswoman for the US Embassy in New Delhi, declined to comment on whether India would be granted a waiver, but said in a statement that the sanctions were "not meant to impose damage to the military capabilities of our allies or partners".

"India and Russian Federation welcomed the conclusion of the contract for the supply of the S-400 long range surface-to-air missile system to India".

Upgrades in arms systems "including the S-400 air and missile defense system" would be a particular focus for CAATSA, a US State Department spokesperson was quoted as saying by India s PTI news agency.

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While America's line has only hardened, former diplomat who served in Moscow Ambassador Anil Trigunayat is more optimistic of how things could pan out for these "strategic" partners of India.

This includes India's purchase of the S-400 air defence missile system from Russian Federation at a cost of more than Rs 40,000 crore.

The dinner meeting comes a day ahead of the 19th India-Russia annual summit during which the two leaders will hold comprehensive discussions on wide-ranging bilateral, regional and worldwide issues, including U.S. sanctions against Moscow and counter-terrorism cooperation. If India successfully launches the Gaganyaan mission, it will be the fourth nation to do so after the United States, Russia and China. The US is now India s second biggest arms supplier. Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman had said that, India has maintained its sovereignty as regards to its relationship with countries.

But Russia remains number one, and a string of new deals with the Asian giant would be a major win for Moscow - and a big snub to the US.

With the U.S. administration breathing down India's neck with sanctions under CAATSA and no presidential waiver in sight, India is still going ahead with multilateral-billion dollar deals with Russia emphasising the importance of India-Russia strategic partnership.

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