S-400 To Putin’s Visit: India, Russia Set To Strengthen Ties

By Naveen Kapoor

Russia has started the delivery of the S400 Triumf surface to air missile system to India, under the agreement signed by the Narendra Modi government for over USD 5 billion. Director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) Dmitry Shugaev has told Russian media that deliveries have started reaching India as planned.

Allaying the fear of possible sanctions that can be imposed by the United States under CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act), India decided to go ahead with the purchase of a missile defence system keeping in view its national interest and desire to upgrade its technology.

As the delivery of S400 commenced, New Delhi is also preparing for the visit of Russian President Vladamir Putin, who is expected to visit India on December 6. This will be one of Putin’s first visits abroad post the COVID-19 pandemic.

A section of analysts here say that India joining Quad and Prime Minister Modi’s recent visit to the United States has given an impression that India, a traditional friend of Russia has started tilting towards the United States. However, India has maintained that it shares good and healthy stand-alone relations with both Russia and US and is not tilting towards one or the other.

Recently, India and Russia have been deeply engaged on the issue of Afghanistan and Moscow regards New Delhi as a key stakeholder in the region. After the sudden takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban, both Modi and Putin had set up a consultation channel on Afghanistan.

Russia top security czar Nikolay Patrushev along with senior officials from the Russian defence and intelligence establishments visited India and held high-level talks with counterpart Ajit Doval and other officials.

Russia also participated in last week’s NSA dialogue on Afghanistan hosted by New Delhi and signed a joint declaration that called for cooperation on terror threats emanating from Afghanistan, radicalisation, extremism and drug trafficking that are common threats faced by both countries.

India and Russia also collaborated closely in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Russia is the first foreign country to supply its Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik to India and is now manufacturing also in India

During the severe second wave of the virus, Russia extended all possible help to India. Both the countries also collaborate and exchange notes closely in multilateral forums like BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). (ANI)

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