S-400 missile supplies from Russia have begun, says Harsh Shringla | Latest News India

Russia has begun deliveries of its long-range S-400 surface-to-air missile defence system to India, foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said Monday.

“S-400 supplies have begun this month and will continue to happen,” Shringla said soon after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to New Delhi earlier in the day.

Shringla said Putin’s visit was short but highly productive and substantive. He also outlined that the two leaders signed 28 agreements between the two countries. 

“The fact that Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to visit India for our annual summit is an indication of the importance he attaches to the bilateral relationship and his personal rapport with Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” Shringla said.

Earlier in the day, Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov praised the S-400 air defence missile systems deal between his country and India, saying the United States tried to strong-arm India into opting out of the pact but New Delhi went through anyway.

The Russian foreign minister took a oblique dig at the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) that the US uses to bring sanctions against nations that have economic and defence ties to Russia, North Korea and Iran.

The US, which is also India’s main defence partner, has expressed its disapproval towards the S-400 missile deal but India contended that the negotiations began five years before CAATSA was enacted, according to a report by Hindustan Times.

The US said in November it is yet to determine whether it will waive those sanctions with respect to the deal between India and Russia.

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Talking about CAATSA, Shringla said, “I don’t think this issue came up at all (in talks with Russian delegation today)… The issue of legitimacy (of Taliban government) also did not come up.”

Shringla said India is looking at intensifying its Buddhist things with Russia. “There’re apparently 15 million Buddhists in Russia. This community is keen on looking at India for pilgrimage and other areas of interest. So the cultural cooperation is also important for both countries,” Shringla said.

The foreign secretary said the issue of RELOS (Reciprocal Exchange of Logistics Agreement) has been put off for some time as there are still a few issues that India need to discuss further.

Shringla added that enhancing bilateral trade and investment figured prominently in the talks between Modi and Putin. “This year, we’ve noticed an encouraging trend of growth in our trades compared to last year. Both sides are looking forward to continued increase in trade and investment trajectory,” Shringla said.

“We have expressed interest in further investments in the oil and gas sector, as well as in the area of petrochemicals,” Shringla added.

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