Russia is believed to have conveyed to India its keenness to sell its S-400 air and missile defence system and urged New Delhi to take an early decision on the proposed deal.
The issue is learnt to have figured in the context of defence cooperation during a meeting of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic and Cultural Cooperation, co-chaired by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin in New Delhi last month.
Informed sources said Swaraj assured the Russian side that India was committed to further intensifying its age-old military and technical cooperation with Moscow, notwithstanding its plans to manufacture defence equipment under the ‘Make in India’ programme and diversify its purchases.
Sources said the two sides were at this stage holding regularly talks, focusing on technical issues connected with the S-400 deal. These issues related to pricing, training, transfer of technologies and setting up of command and control centers.
India has also conveyed to Russia that New Delhi has its own procedures and internal mechanisms which have to be followed so that the deal was concluded in such a way that the result was satisfactory and met this country’s requirements.
Sources denied there was any tensions between India and Russia over military and technical cooperation. Reports in the media about difficulties in the relationship were inspired by interested parties. ”Our military-technical cooperation is long-standing based on mutual trust and understanding,” they added.
Sources also refuted reports that US sanctions on Russia had cast a shadow on India-Russia defence cooperation. As far as India was concerned, it was not a party to the sanctions, they added.
This comes close on the heels of statements by senior Russian officials that negotiations between India and Russia on S-400 missile system had reached a very profound stage.
The S-400 is Russia’s fourth-generation air and missile defence system. It is currently Moscow’s most advanced deployed system, although a fifth-generation version, the S-500, is under development.
Source: The Statesman