In what amounts to Russia’s latest act of defiance against the US and its Western allies, and a sign that India is slowly moving away from the US sphere of influence, New Delhi has signed a $5.4 billion deal for the delivery of five S-400 weapons systems, one of Russia’s most advanced anti-aircraft weapons, RT reported. The deal risks provoking more sanctions against Russia from the US. The arms deal was finalized at a summit involving Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin in New Delhi.
Because of the purchase, India now risks being sanctioned under Washington’s Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which prohibits the purchase of arms from Russia. After his meeting with Modi, Putin said during a joint press conference that Russia would work with India to boost bilateral cooperation in the UN, Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the G20. Putin added that the two countries would coordinate counter-terrorism efforts, and the two leaders also signed a deal on space cooperation, with Modi saying that he hoped Russia would help India send astronauts into space by 2022.
The two countries also plan to cooperate on counter-terrorism efforts in Syria, as well as the status of the Iran nuclear deal. Russia has always “stood shoulder-to-shoulder with India in the energy sector and our goals,” Putin said.
The arms deal was signed during a period of increased trade between Russian and India, with total trade exceeding $9 billion last year. That figure is expected to rise as the two countries hope to encourage cross-border investment. By 2030, Putin said, he hopes to increase trade to $30 billion and investments by $15 billion.
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