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Kremlin Says Putin Will Seal $5 Billion Missile Defense Deal On Trip To India


Russian S-400 long-range air-defense missile systems

A key achievement of Russian President Vladimir Putin on a trip to India this week will be the signing of a $5 billion deal to supply India with S-400 air-defense systems, a top Kremlin aide has said.

The deal comes despite warnings from the Pentagon that India would run afoul of U.S. sanctions against Russia's military and defense sector if it purchased the sophisticated weapon systems.

Putin is visiting India on October 4-5 at the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Moscow has been negotiating to sell the S-400 long-range surface-to-air missiles to India for months.

"The key feature of this visit will be the signing of the agreement to deliver S-400 air-defense systems. The value of the contract will be more than $5 billion," Putin's top foreign-policy aide, Yury Ushakov, told reporters in Moscow.

He called Russia's military relationship with India "traditional and long-standing."

But the S-400 sale has raised concern in Washington, which is seeking to develop a defense relationship with India to counter China's growing military presence in Asia, and wants India to reduce its reliance on Russian technology.

Moreover, the Pentagon has warned India that the purchase would violate U.S. sanctions against Russia's military that went into effect this year.

India has signaled it will ask Washington for a special waiver from the sanctions to purchase the S-400 systems. Congress enacted legislation this year that would allow the president to waive the sanctions for countries that are developing defense relationships with Washington.

While U.S. legislators said they had India in mind when they passed the waiver legislation, a senior Pentagon official warned New Delhi last month that there was no guarantee it will get an exemption from the sanctions.

With reporting by AFP, Reuters, and Interfax

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