India, Russia sign S-400 missile deal after summit

U.S. says sanctions waiver will be given only on transaction-by-transaction basis
India and Russia on Friday concluded the contract for five S-400 ‘Triumf’ missile systems, one of the biggest defence deals in recent times, after the annual summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The announcement of the deal, which could attract sanctions from the United States, was made in a joint statement issued by both sides. “The sides welcomed the conclusion of the contract for the supply of the S-400 long range surface to air missile to India,” said the statement.
No pact on frigates
However, the two sides failed to conclude two other major deals, for stealth frigates and assault rifles, that were reportedly ready, as officials said further negotiations were needed. “India gives top priority to its relations with Russia. In this rapidly changing world, our relations have become more relevant,” Mr. Modi said, after the meeting, his third summit with Mr. Putin this year. Significantly, the agreement for the estimated $5.43 billion (Rs. 40,300 crore) S-400 system was not referred to by either leader in their press statements.It was also the only agreement not included with eight others exchanged in the presence of Mr. Modi and Mr. Putin, a possible move to avoid the con troversy engendered when the last such deal for Rafale aircraft in 2015 was announced directly by the Prime Minister.
Will come in 24 months
Deliveries of S-400 will begin in 24 months, at the end of 2020, a government source told The Hindu . As per procedure, the source also said that India would pay about 15% in advance, likely through the rupee-rouble mechanism both countries use for trade in their own currencies. The U.S. has warned the deal would invoke sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) law, which penalises defence purchases from Russia, Iran and North Korea, as soon as the first payment is made, unless President Donald Trump grants a “waiver.” On Friday, the U.S. Embassy issued a statement warning that any waiver for the S-400 deal would only be considered on a “transaction-by-transaction basis.” “We cannot prejudge any sanctions decisions,” its spokesperson added. A government source rejected the U.S. statement, saying that the S-400 missile system deal was done in the “national interest.” “The negotiations [for the agreement] preceded CAATSA by a long period of several years. It fulfils a certain defence requirement for India and the government has taken the decision in the national interest,” the source said. The two leaders reserved most of their time during Mr. Putin’s brief 22-hour visit for one-on-one interactions, spending three hours at dinner on Thursday and nearly two hours on Friday in intense talks.
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