India, Russia Expected to Seal Arms Deal During Putin Visit

India, Russia Expected to Seal Arms Deal During Putin Visit

Later, Modi hosted a private dinner for the visiting dignitary.

The sale of Russian long-range surface-to-air missile systems is a sticking point as it is unclear whether India will receive a waiver from Washington on US sanctions meant to punish Russia for its annexation of Crimea and alleged interference in the 2016 USA elections.

Much like the two leaders spending about six hours in conversation in Sochi in May, Modi and Putin are learnt to have discussed a range of "strategic issues" concerning the bilateral relationship, sources said on Thursday. "Negotiation on S-400 air defence systems has been on for a long while and it is at a stage where it can be finalised", Sitharaman said last week.

According to a report, India and Russian Federation will sign a deal for the multi-billion-dollar S-400 surface-to-air missile system this week.

The US side reassured New Delhi that the CAATSA law (Countering America's Adversaries through Sanctions Act) would not apply to legacy platforms or spares, but new buys could be impacted. NSA Doval conveyed to his U.S. interlocutors that the decision to acquire the S-400 system from Russian Federation was taken much before CATSA was enacted (the act was passed in August last year).

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Nevertheless, an amendment to the act allows Trump to grant waivers on a case-by-case basis.

Moscow is also pushing for India's entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group of countries controlling access to nuclear technology.

On the strategic front, Russian Federation helped India become a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation this year and has backed New Delhi s long-held demand for a permanent UN Security Council seat. Putin arrived in India on Thursday for a two-day visit during which India is expected to sign a $5 billion deal to buy Russian S-400 air defense systems despite a new US law ordering sanctions on any country trading with Russia's defense and intelligence sectors. 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. The United States is also concerned about North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey's decision to buy the Russian missile system, seeing it as incompatible with the alliance systems. An upgraded version of the S-300 systems, the S-400 missile system, manufactured by Almaz-Antey, has been in service in Russian Federation since 2007. The Modi government hopes the Trump administration will not disrupt burgeoning defence ties with the world's biggest arm importer by levying sanctions the U.S. Congress has sought.

What is less known is that Mattis and Pompeo spent over an hour with NSA Ajit Doval for a deeper conversation on two contentious issues - imports of Iranian oil post sanctions that will kick in from November 4, and the S-400 from Russian Federation.

Russian President Vladimir Putin with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi on Thursday.

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