Kremlin confirms S-400 missile deal during Vladimir Putin’s India visit

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Although there was no public signing, the deal was sealed during President Vladimir Putin's ongoing visit to New Delhi for an annual summit with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

While all the noise is around the arms deal, if signed, it could violate the sanctions by the US under Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which is initiated by the US Congress on purchases of arms from Russian Federation.

President Donald Trump has the power to waive these sanctions for specific countries and specific transactions, and USA officials have repeatedly said in the recent past that India should not expect an automatic waiver if it goes ahead with the purchase from Russian Federation.

"We urge all of our allies and partners to forgo transactions with Russian Federation that would trigger sanctions under the CAATSA", a U.S. State Department representative said.

Washington and New Delhi announced plans last month for joint military drills in 2019, and agreed on the exchange of sensitive military information.

Modi's government, caught in the U.S. -Russia crossfire, hopes the Trump administration will give it a pass on the proposed arms transfer from Russian Federation, officials in New Delhi said. Besides defence, the summit also produced deals on gas, oil and nuclear energy.

Last year India and China had a military standoff over a Himalayan plateau claimed by Beijing and Bhutan, a close ally of India.

"India has maintained its sovereignty as regards to its relationship with countries". The present government does the right thing by continuing with India's long-standing policy of defending and expanding its strategic autonomy, even as it builds alliances with powers that see one another as rivals.

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Also on the agenda is Russian training for Indian astronauts as New Delhi aims to launch its first crewed space mission in 2022.

Putin remarks came after a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in India.

Rakesh Sharma, the only Indian to travel in space, did so on a Soviet spacecraft in 1984. "The value of the contract will be more than Dollars 5 billion", he said.

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

"India gives the highest priority to ties with Russian Federation, in fact in a changing world, our ties have become more important", Modi said. They also met in Sochi this year. He is also scheduled to interact with a group of talented children.

The last India-Russia bilateral summit was held in Russia on June 1, 2017.

Afghanistan though has been a sticking point, experts say, where Moscow wants to engage Taliban in the peace process - a prospect unacceptable to India.

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