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Opinion

S-400 deal ‘progressing well’ despite threat of US sanctions: Russian ambassador

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Russia’s ongoing deals with India for military hardware, including S-400 air defense systems, are “progressing well” despite the threat of potential US sanctions, Russian Ambassador Nikolay Kudashev said on Monday.

There may be “good progress” if decisions regarding the acquisition of Ka-226 helicopters and the production of AK-203 assault rifles are accelerated, and Russia is ready to share the most advanced technologies with India according to the “Make in India “and” Aatmanirbhar Bharat “initiatives, Kudashev told a news conference.

His comments came in the context of the latest imposition of US sanctions on Turkey for its $ 2.5 billion deal with Russia for the S-400 air defense system under the Act to Counter America’s Adversaries Through of Sanctions (CAATSA). US officials have warned that India’s acquisition of Russian high-tech systems could lead to similar sanctions.

“Regarding current offers [are] concerned, we are progressing well, even with the supplies of the S-400. If the relevant decisions to start works related to the production of Ka-226 helicopters and AK-203 rifles are accelerated, we will soon see good progress, which is especially important due to the deep interests expressed by the Indian armed forces ”, Kudashev said.

Also read: Russia understands India’s vision of the Indo-Pacific, has concerns about Quad: Russian diplomats

India and Russia signed a $ 5.4 billion deal for five S-400 systems in October 2018, with the first batch expected to be delivered by the end of 2021. All deliveries will be completed within a five-year period.

When asked specifically about the threat of secondary US sanctions against India under CAATSA, Kudashev said that Russia, like India, does not recognize sanctions other than those imposed by the UN Security Council. Roman Babushkin, charge d’affaires at the Russian embassy, ​​described the secondary US sanctions on the purchase of arms from Russia as “illegal tools of unfair competition and pressure.”

Kudashev said that both Russia and India are disciplined members of international arms control regimes and that their bilateral military-technical cooperation will not introduce “any threat to the regional balance.”

“When it comes to sanctions, it is difficult to predict and allow the Biden administration to first publicly announce its foreign policy plans and vision. We do not recognize or welcome unilateral sanctions as a tool … of interstate or international relations, sanctions other than those applied by the UN Security Council, this is also the case of Turkey, “he said.

“When it comes to India, we share the same platform. India’s position is very clear: sanctions other than those applied by the UN Security Council are not recognized. Whatever the future, we believe that our ties will withstand the challenges ahead, ”he added.

Kudashev said that the “unparalleled defense cooperation” between India and Russia is based on “a real exchange of technologies and joint ventures that help India promote local production and expand its military export potential.” The two parties are working on joint development and joint production of equipment, components and spare parts, improving the after-sales service system and deepening localization programs.

Russia also hopes to participate in Aero-India 2021, where it will showcase Su-57, Su-35 and MiG-35 fighter jets, Ka-52, Ka-226, Mi-17B-5 and Mi-26 helicopters. and the S-400 and Buk missile systems.

“We are willing to share almost everything we have, doubly since the Make in India and Aatmanirbhar Bharat initiatives and the emergence of the military-technical economic corridors in Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh create especially favorable conditions. There are no obstacles to our cooperation, ”Kudashev said.

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