Krishna Mohan Mishra
India has made it clear to the United States that its defence relations with Russia are decades old and they will continue as usual with the two countries on the verge of signing the multi-crore deal for the S-400 Triumf air defence missile system. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said that the US Congress delegation which was in India recently has been given the message that Indo-Russian ties will remain strong.
The US had in 2017 passed the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), primarily aimed at Russia, Iran and North Korea with India likely to face sanction if it buys the S-400 Triumf air defence missile system. This Act can be used against countries which maintain defence trade relations with Russia, Iran and North Korea.
Sitharaman said that this is law of the United States, not United Nation's. "The matter is not the selection between the US or Russia. With Russia we have decades-old defence links and it will continue," she said.
But she also added that the Indo-US relations are on track with talks between defence and foreign ministers of India and US, cancelled in June 2018 likely to be conducted in September 2018. Earlier, these talks were to take place in the US on July 6 but Washington cancelled it saying that officials were not available for talks during that period.
India has long relied on Russia for defence needs. India is currently negotiating the S-400 missile defence system from Russia. The S-400 deal is expected to be around Rs 35 to 40000 crore.The system is capable of fully protecting India from any missile or aircraft attack.
India is also in talks with Russia to acquire another nuclear submarine on lease. Indian Navy already has nuclear submarine INS Chakra leased from Russia in April 2012 for 10 years. Russia has also helped India to make its first nuclear submarine INS Arihant.