Deal to supply S-400s to India to go ahead despite US objections: Russia

‘India seeks partners who are sensitive, responsive to India’s requirements,’ Indian defense minister says after meeting with Russian leaders.

NEW DELHI (AA) – Russia’s foreign minister said Monday that an agreement to supply India with S-400 air defense missile systems would go ahead despite US efforts to undermine the deal.

“We witnessed attempts on the part of the United States to undermine this cooperation and to make India obey the American orders, to follow the American vision of how this region should be developed,” Sergey Lavrov told ANI news agency in the capital New Delhi.

The 2+2 ministerial-level dialogue between India and Russia was held in New Delhi on Monday. Defense Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishanker represented India, while Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and Foreign Minister Lavrov represented the Russian side.

In a statement, Rajnath Singh said: “The pandemic, the extraordinary militarization, and expansion of armament in our neighborhood and the completely unprovoked aggression on our northern border since early summer of 2020 have thrown in several challenges.

“India is confident of overcoming these challenges with its strong political will and inherent capability of its people. Recognizing that its development needs are colossal and that its defense challenges are legitimate, real and immediate, India seeks partners who are sensitive and responsive to India’s expectations and requirements.”

The ministers discussed defense, arms, nuclear power, and the situation in Afghanistan ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Four different pacts were signed between both nations in the field of defense at the end of the 20th meeting of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military & Military-Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-M&MTC). This includes an agreement for the procurement of over 600,000 AK-203 assault rifles.

Both the countries also renewed their military-technical cooperation arrangement for 2021-31.

In his remarks, S. Jaishanker said: “Our partnership is indeed very special, it is very unique.

“And we are very conscious that in a world of rapid geo-political changes it has in fact been remarkably steady and strong. And I would also like to take the opportunity to underline that we are very satisfied with our bilateral relations and state of our cooperation.”

He added that terrorism, violent extremism, and radicalization are some prominent challenges facing the region.


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