In a show of quintessential Indian foreign policy of independence, India has clearly conveyed to the US that Indo-Russian cooperation in the defence sector will continue, including the much talked about deal of S-400 Triumph Air Defence system. India has clarified that it will go ahead with Russia on this particular procurement and will continue to work closely with Russia on matters of defence notwithstanding the recent US sanctions imposed on Russia.
Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman while interacting with the press stated that in all of India’s engagement with the US, India has maintained that Indo-Russia defence cooperation has been going on for a long time and the relationship is a time-tested one. Sitharaman furthered by adding that India has explicitly mentioned that the CAATSA cannot impact Indo-Russo defence cooperation relationship.
In January 2018 the US announced a fresh set of sanctions against Russia for its alleged involvement in the U.S presidential elections 2016. The act is called – ‘Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act’.
This act mandates the current US administration to punish countries and entities engaging in a significant transaction with the Russian defence or the intelligence establishment (Section 235). This could put India in a very tight spot as India largely uses Russian platforms for defence and also most of India’s armoury requires Russian spare parts. India also depends heavily on Russia for raw materials and other assistance, ranging from technical to logistical.
That is precisely why The Defence Minister was asked about the status of the S-400 deal with Russia. She replied with an affirmative tone while stating that the long-drawn negotiations have reached the final stage.
“The S-400 deal has been on for a very long time and we have reached the final stage of negotiations. That explains it,” she added.
The deal could reportedly be announced before an annual summit between Vladimir Putin and Narendra Modi. The U.S, on the other hand, remains very ‘concerned’ about this deal, with the Chairman of the US’House Armed Services Committee warning that this S-400 deal with Russia may limit the interoperability between both countries armies. The Pentagon is also believed to be ‘very concerned’ about the possible implications of these Russian sanctions on defence ties between India and U.S.