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Arturo Kim
October 4, 2018

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 Russian S-400s are now the best complexes in their class. India has "healthy pragmatism", and it doesn't want "to somehow annoy" Washington by purchasing them, Aleksey Martynov, a director of the International Institute of the Newly Established States group, told RT.

Moscow has been negotiating to sell the S-400 long-range surface-to-air missiles to India for months.

"The S-400 is attracting attention due to the US-Trump overhang".

The Russian leader will also interact with a group of children and will address an India-Russia business meet.

The second wave of sanctions that would hit in November would be meant to bring Iran's oil exports to zero, as USA officials have already acknowledged. We let him go.

Notably, according to a defense source speaking to The Hindustan Times, the contract will not contain an offset clause in order to expedite delivery of the S-400 air defense systems.

The US had warned India against the planned purchase. It wants to bolster ties with New Delhi to counter China's growing assertiveness, something that has also rattled India. For months, there have been indications from New Delhi that it will sign the deal notwithstanding the USA sanctions.

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But Russia remains India's main arms supplier, and a string of new deals with the Asian giant would be a major win for Moscow - and a big snub to the US. India and Russian Federation are likely to sign a deal to get S-400 air defence systems and discuss key regional and global issues, including United States sanctions on the import of Iranian crude oil.

The S-400 is an upgraded version of the S-300 systems. So the Russian S-400s are being seen as a good solution.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters India was closing in on the deal to buy the air defence system from Russian Federation, with which it has long-standing military ties.

"He is just a scumbag", a visibly angry Putin told an energy forum in Moscow. Moscow is now expanding India's biggest nuclear power plant in Kudankulam. Modi and Putin are also expected to explore ways to further deepen cooperation between the two countries in a number of sectors including trade, investment, connectivity, energy, space and tourism.

But military kit is the main focus.

Russian Federation and India have had warm ties since Stalin died in 1953.

But ties received a boost past year when Modi and Putin held a fruitful annual bilateral summit, followed by meetings in Astana and at the G20 in Germany. They also met in Sochi this year.

On Friday, Putin will hold a formal meeting with Modi at 11 am at Hyderabad House after which the India-Russia summit will take place.

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