Putin to ink arms deal with India amid threat of United States sanctions

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Salisbury England

Putin, along with Modi, will hold the 19th India-Russia annual bilateral summit during which they are expected to review bilateral defence cooperation in the wake of the USA sanctions against Russian defence majors.

The US had warned India against the planned purchase.

Russian Federation and India have had warm ties since Stalin died in 1953.

"We are in a new situation", says Nandan Unnikrishnan, a Russian Federation expert at the independent Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi. Underlining that friendship between India and Russian Federation has stood the test of time, and that the ties would continue to scale new heights, Modi suggested that the seeds of the "strategic partnership" sown by former prime minister AB Vajpayee and President Putin have now grown into a "special privileged strategic partnership". One is associated with attempts to create competitive advantages for its own products using political pressure (it is known that the United States offered its Patriot systems to India instead of S-400). The system, which would be delivered by 2020, would strengthen IAF's capacity to protect critical assets and limit strike abilities of the Pakistani air force. So the Russian S-400s are being seen as a good solution.

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These apart, India and Russian Federation aren't expecting an agreement on some planned deals due to apparent funds constraint in the defence ministry.

In response, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US was terminating the Treaty of Amity with Iran - a 1955 agreement to improve economic relations between the two countries.

But military relations would likely be the main focus. The second agreement is also a defence deal and it involves the purchase of four Krivak-class frigates worth $2 billion (Rs 1,476 crore at the current price).

The Modi government hopes the Trump administration will not disrupt burgeoning defence ties with the world's biggest arm importer by levying sanctions the U.S. Congress has sought.

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India and Russian Federation have a close relationship that dates back to the Cold War, when the USA tilted toward Pakistan, India's neighbor and archrival.

The last annual summit was held on June 1st past year, during the visit of the Prime Minister Modi to Russian Federation. They also met in Sochi this year.

More than 80 percent of India's military equipment was of Soviet origin during the days of the Cold War, but since its breakup New Delhi has diversified its weaponry.

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