Russia’s S-400 air-defence system deal with India ‘advancing well’, says Moscow’s envoy in New Delhi

Russia’s ongoing deals with India for military equipment, including for S-400 air defence systems, are “advancing well” despite the threat of potential US sanctions and if decisions related to procurement of Ka-226 helicopters and AK-203 rifles production are expedited, there can be “good progress”, Russian ambassador Nikolay Kudashev said on Monday.

His remarks came within days of the US imposing sanctions on Turkey under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) for its deal with Russia for the S-400 air defence system. The US have warned of similar measures for India’s acquisition of the S-400 systems.

“As far as current deals [are] concerned, we are advancing well, including with S-400 supplies. If relevant decisions to start works related to Ka-226 helicopters and AK-203 rifles production are expedited, soon we will see good progress, which is especially important due to deep interests expressed by the Indian armed forces,” Kudashev said.

India and Russia signed a deal for five S-400 systems in October 2018.

On being asked about the threat of US secondary sanctions against India under CAATSA, Kudashev said Russia, like India, didn’t recognise sanctions other than those imposed by the UN Security Council.

“As far as sanctions are concerned, it’s hard to predict and let the Biden administration first announce publicly its plans and foreign policy vision. We do not recognise or welcome unilateral sanctions as a tool…of interstate or international relations, sanctions other than those applied by the UN Security Council, this is also the case of Turkey,” said Kudashev.

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Kudashev said the “unparalleled defence cooperation” between India and Russia was based on “real exchange of technologies and joint ventures helps India to advance local production and expand its military export potential”.

The two sides were working on co-development and co-production of equipment, components and spare parts, improving the after-sales service system and deepening localisation programmes, he added.

Russia was also looking forward to participating in Aero-India 2021, where it would showcase the Su-57, Su-35 and MiG-35 combat jets, Ka-52, Ka-226, Mi-17B-5 and Mi-26 helicopters, and the S-400 and Buk missile systems, said the Russian diplomat.

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