• Friday, Jan 21, 2022
  • Last Update : 03:32 am

Indian defence minister: US sanctions won't impact India-Russia defence ties

  • Published at 09:09 pm June 5th, 2018
Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Collected from Facebook

India, the world's top defence importer, had been in talks with Russia to buy S-400 long range surface-to-air missile systems when the sanctions were announced

India's Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said Tuesday that US sanctions on Russia military exports would not impact long-standing ties between New Delhi and one of its key arms suppliers Moscow.

US President Donald Trump in August signed a law threatening sanctions on any country doing business with Russia's defence and intelligence sectors.

The sanctions regime affects American allies like India, which has purchased Russian military hardware and expertise for decades.

India, the world's top defence importer, had been in talks with Russia to buy S-400 long range surface-to-air missile systems when the sanctions were announced.

There had been speculation last year when the sanctions were signed into law that the $6 billion weapons deal could be scuttled.

But Sitharaman said the long-running negotiations "have reached the final stage".

"I like to make it clear here that in all our engagements with the US, we have very clearly explained how India and Russia's defence cooperation is something which has been going on for a very long time," she told reporters on Tuesday when asked about the sanctions.

"It is a time tested relationship. And India has got quite a lot of defence assets from Russia. Assets, spares, servicing -- we have a continuous relationship with Russia.

The sanctions "cannot be impacting on us on this particular characteristic of India's Russia defence co-operation".

India has increasingly turned to the United States and France for arms purchases in recent years, but is still reliant on Russia hardware and expertise to maintain its existing arsenal.

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