New Delhi seals $5bn missile deal with Moscow

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

Putin, accompanied by top officials including Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and Modi are due to meet at 11:00 am (0530 GMT). Later, Modi hosted a private dinner for the visiting dignitary.

Vladmir Putin is India on a two-day India visit. "Russia has always been with us in the development journey of India. Looking forward to our deliberations, which will further enhance India-Russia friendship".

Vladivostok Forum also known as the Eastern Economic Forum was set up for the objective of encouraging foreign investment in the Russian Far East.

The agreements, announced following Putin´s talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, come despite threats of sanctions by the United States on countries buying Russian military hardware.

In Washington, a State Department Spokesperson had said on Wednesday "We urge all of our allies and partners to forgo transactions with Russian Federation that would trigger sanctions under CAATSA", when asked about India's plan to purchase multi-billion S-400 missile defense system from Russian Federation.

Yuri Kadobnov/Pool via REUTERS The United States has said countries trading with Russia's defense and intelligence sectors would face automatic sanctions under a sweeping legislation called Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). "I am very happy that you have assured full cooperation of Russian Federation in this mission", Modi said. American lawmakers, however, have allowed the possibility of a presidential waiver.

"This would reinforce the continued strength of a Russia-India partnership even amid a growing US-India relationship", said Michael Kugelman from the Wilson Centre in Washington. Russian Federation has been an important supplier of defence hardware to India for decades.

The S-400 missile system, manufactured by Almaz-Antey, is capable of tracking and destroying hostile strategic bombers, jets, missiles and drones at a range of 380 km.

However, India is hoping to get a waiver from the U.S. on the grounds that it needs the missiles for its self defence keeping in view the fragile security situation in the South Asian region. Indian Air Force chief BS Dhanoa said on Wednesday that the S-400 systems would be a booster dose for the IAF that is grappling with shrinking combat capabilities.

The S-400 is an upgraded version of the S-300 systems.

The missile system has been in service since 2007 and is a popular Russian arms export.

Moscow has been New Delhi's largest defense supplier since the 1960s, accounting for 68 percent of India's arms imports from 2012 to 2016, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). The official added that in the the run-up to the 20th Indo-Russia Summit, there was discussion to have a joint tiger conservation initiative at a bilateral or multilateral level.

"India gives top priority to its relations with Russian Federation".

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