But as Putin makes the rounds in New Delhi, with a large Russian business delegation in tow, one of the things working in his favor is the Trump administration's new determination to crack down hard on anyone breaking USA sanctions on Russia and Iran, two of India's major trading partners. Almost 70 percent of India's present-day defense equipment was procured from Russian Federation, according to India's Defense Ministry.
It is reported that Putin will be discussing the S-400 air defence missile deal with PM Modi.
Last month, the United States imposed sanctions on China's military for its purchase of combat fighters as well as the S-400 missile system it bought from Russian Federation this year.
S-400 air defence system The focus of the summit will be an agreement on the S-400 air defence missile system. With an eye on China, New Delhi and Washington have been building a closer partnership. The US is now India´s second biggest arms supplier.
While U.S. legislators said they had India in mind when they passed the waiver legislation, a senior Pentagon official warned New Delhi last month that there was no guarantee it will get an exemption from the sanctions. India also has intensified its defense ties with the U.S.in recent years with joint military drills and defense sales.
The potential agreement comes as an indication that India will continue its defense ties with Russian Federation, even as it deepens a military and strategic alliance with Washington. Besides the fund crunch, money transfer to Russian military entities sanctioned by the U.S. is a challenge to India. Moscow is now expanding India's biggest nuclear power plant in Kudankulam.
"We urge all of our allies and partners to forgo transactions with Russian Federation that would trigger sanctions under the CAATSA", a U.S. State Department representative said. What is behind this contract, what forces tried to prevent it, and should the Russian-Indian cooperation be limited only by the military field? "But India has made it clear that we will abide only by United Nations sanctions".
Iran and Russia have yet to implement an oil-for-goods scheme originally signed in 2014 and extended for five more years in April, which calls for Iranian crude exports of up to 500,000 barrels per day in return for Russian goods. India made it clear it needed the S-400 and had a long legacy of sourcing defence equipment from Russian Federation, which New Delhi was unwilling to compromise.
The last India-Russia bilateral summit was held in Russia on June 1, 2017.
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