Indo-Russian ties will not be impacted by US sanctions: Nirmala Sitharaman

The Indian Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman has categorically asserted that the age old camaraderie the country has with Russia, including defence and security relations will not be affected due to the sanctions imposed by the US on military deals with Moscow, a PTI report said. Sitaraman said that the country will not allow its time-tested defence and security alliance with Russia to be impacted by the American sanctions on military transactions with Moscow.

Stating that the talks on the S-400 missile deal with Moscow is for the most part over, the report went on to quote the Minister as saying that it was a fair hint from Sitharaman that India is on course to firm up the deal in the near future.

What is more, India has always kept its soveriginity intact, when it came to her relationships with other nations, Sitaraman said and added that going forward, the country would maintain the relationship with other countries in all earnestness. While parrying a query on whether the American sanctions on the military deals India has with Russia will impact New Delhi’s strategic and defence relationships with one of its closest partners, she said in the affirmative. The clarification comes at a time that the Russian President, Vladimir Putin is scheduled to visit India early October this year to take part in the annual Indo-Russia summit with the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, when both the nations are likely to hold talks on ways to firm up the strategic relations to the next level. Traditionally, Russia has been one of the strategic partners in terms of the supply of arms and ammunition.

After years of intense negotiations, both the nations are about to sign the Rs.40,000 crore defence deal to source S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems for the Indian Air Force. Thanks to the US military sanctions against Russia under the stringent Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), law for the latter’s annexation of Crimea, there were fair share of uncertainties over the Indo-Russia deal. Notwithstanding the embargo, India had clearly spelt out to the US its intention of going ahead with the sourcing of air defence systems, citing official sources, the agency report said. In fact, the issue surfaced at the first edition of two-plus-two talks between India and the US, held on September 6, 2018. Pressure has been building up in India over the American sanctions against Russian defence firms including Rosoboronexport, as military purchases worth millions of dollars will be affected due to the sanctions.

CAASTA mandates the Donald Trump regime to punish firms involved with major deals with the defence or intelligence establishments of Russia and the area of concern for India is that the country is aiming at sourcing the long-range missile systems in order to strengthen its air defence mechanism, especially, along the 4,000 kilometre stretch along the Sino-India border, the report pointed out.