India and Russia hold long defence trade history, with India buying off billions worth of arms and ammunitions from Russia. However, Russian President Vladimir Putin has just arrived in India today with an agenda to strengthen Indo-Russian relations beyond defence and is likely to sign 20 pacts in various sectors including nuclear energy, space and economy.
While the core of Vladimir Putin’s visit to India remains signing a pact to procure the mega $5 million S-400 air defence deal with India, it has been speculated that India and Russia will also focus on areas like regional and global issues, including US sanctions on import of Iranian crude oil. The confirmation of the S-400 air defence deal is likely to irk the US, China and Pakistan in one shot, but India and Russia are moving ahead with the deal even if it invites the US sanctions against countries buying Russian equipment.
Adding to the skewer, Putin and Modi are likely to enjoy the rapport by discussing other defence deals like the Russian frigates deal worth $2 billion and $1 billion helicopter deal to add to the snub. Beyond snubbing, the bold move signifies that India stands firm by its decision as an independent sovereign maintaining its relations with all countries. And getting the S-400 will not only give an upgrade from S-300, but it will also tighten India’s air defence capabilities with Russia’s most advanced long-range surface-to-air missile, particularly along the 4000 kilometre long India-China border as well as the ever-turbulent Pakistan border.
However, the Putin’s two-day visit to India is not all about defence deals as PM Modi and President Putin will sign 20 pacts covering huge number of areas like energy, space research, economic development, trade, tourism and connectivity between India and Russia. Furthermore, sources indicated that the two leaders are likely to discuss global and regional issues including on impact of US sanctions on import of crude oil from Iran for a rather assertive approach.