Tribune News Service
New Delhi, July 13
India on Friday said the S-400 missile deal with Russia will go ahead, ignoring US pressure threatening sanctions onto any country having military ties with Moscow.
Also, New Delhi is yet to be agree on signing a rather intrusive agreement on sharing military information with the US. This even as a India-US 2+2 dialogue — the defence and foreign ministers of both countries — may be conducted in September.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said, “We have told the US Congress delegation (that visited India) that this it is US law and not a UN law.”
On being asked if she means that the law does not apply to India, Sitharaman said “off course, it does not”.
Sitharaman, speaking to media in her office at South Block, said “negotiations are in final stages with Russia for the S-400 missile”.
The missile is a surface to air missile and is to provide an “umbrella-style” protective cover against incoming enemy missile and planes.
India has also told the US that it has had long relations with Russia and shall continue with that.
“We have had continuous relations with Russia and those have endured,” the defence minister said.
The US Senate in last week of June passed the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) without the provision of waiver sought by President Donald Trump’s administration. India had also used diplomatic channels seeking the waiver.
The CAATSA requires imposing curbs on nations that have “significant” defence relations with Russia.
Among the 39 entities listed by the US is the Rosoboronexport, the Russian state-controlled intermediary for export and import of arms.
India’s military relations with Russia have to continue as usual. Military readiness literally depends on these relations, said sources.
The IAF fighter jets Sukhoi-30MKI, Army’s T-90 tanks, BrahMos missiles and large parts of ammunition comes from Russia or are licence-produced here.
Also hinges upon Russia is the supply of spares for the Mi-17 helicopters, the MiG 29 fighter jets used by the IAF and the Navy, the transport fleet of the IAF and the armoured combat vehicles. The newly minted joint production of the Kamov helicopter will ensure that helicopters will be produced in India.
India operates one nuclear submarine, INS Chakra, on lease from Russia and another sub is being negotiated. Moscow has helped New Delhi build its indigenous nuclear submarine, INS Arihant.
On being asked if India would ink the Communications, Compatibility, Security Agreement (COMCASA) — which will enable Indian military to obtain critical, secure and encrypted defence technologies from the other country, Sitharaman said, “ I don’t think final position has been arrived at all.” The US wants India to sign the agreement.
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