Middle East

Russia is said to plan air-defence deal with India next week

A separate deal for four frigates may also be signed during Putins October 4-5 visit

New Delhi: Russia is expected to sign a deal to supply advanced S-400 surface-to-air missile systems to India next week during President Vladimir Putins visit to New Delhi, a Russian official said.

The threat of US sanctions against buyers of Russian weapons — imposed most recently on China — wont affect the deal, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss plans that arent yet public. The contract covers 10 batteries, worth a total of $6.2 billion, Russias RBC newspaper reported earlier this year.

A separate deal to supply four frigates to India, may also be signed during Putins visit on Oct. 4-5, the official said.

“India is not risking anything with this deal,” says Igor Korotchenko, head of the Moscow-based Centre for Analysis of World Arms Trade. “The US wont impose sanctions on them because they dont want the Indians to refuse to purchase American weapons in the future.”

Lieutenant Colonel David Eastburn, a US. Defense Department spokesman, said a waiver from the sanctions law “is ultimately a presidential authority and any decision to provide a waiver to India will be determined by the president.” He added that Defence Secretary Jim Mattis “continues to place great value on our growing strategic partnership with India.”

The S-400 missile system has been in service since 2007 and is a popular Russian export weapon. It can shoot down aircraft and missiles at a range of 400 kilometres (about 250 miles). Turkey also is planning to buy the S-400 despite US opposition to the purchase by a fellow Nato member.

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