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India will sign $5 billion S-400 air defense system deal with Russia this week

Russian President Vladimir Putin will oversee the signing of a deal this week to supply India with S-400 air defense systems, a top Kremlin aide said on Tuesday, October 2, ahead of Putin’s two-day trip to India.

“The president is leaving for India on October 4,” Putin’s top foreign policy aide Yury Ushakov told reporters.

“The key feature of this visit will be the signing of the agreement to deliver S-400 air defence systems,” he said. “The value of the contract will be more than $5 billion.”

Ushakov said the contract is for five regiment sets of S-400 Triumf systems, Interfax reported.

Media reported in January that India was negotiating a deal with Russia for five S-400 systems, valuing the deal then at 39,000 crore rupees (390 billion rupees), which was around $6 billion at the time but is now around $5.3 billion. The Times of India reported that India wanted to sign the deal in the 2018-19 financial year and for delivery to begin within two years.

But the sale has irked the United States, which wants to reduce the amount of Russian technology purchased by all its defense partners, and a senior Pentagon official said in August that sanctions against India would come under consideration if its purchase goes through.

India has signaled it will ask for a special waiver from sanctions, though a U.S. official last week said there is no guarantee it would do so.

Russia’s S-400 Triumf long- and medium-range air defense missile system can use five different missile types to destroy aerial targets including planes and cruise and ballistic missiles at a range of 40 to 400 km (25 to 250 miles) at altitudes of up to 30 km.

A regiment set includes a command post, radar stations, launchers, missiles, power-generating plant and auxiliary equipment, spare parts and accessories.

Qatar and Saudi Arabia are both currently in talks with Russia to buy S-400 systems.

Turkey signed a deal with Russia to purchase the S-400 system last September when Ankara made an advance payment, and delivery is scheduled for 2019. Concerns have been raised by Turkey’s NATO allies about data security with the S-400 system, particularly around the F-35 stealth fighter, and the Trump administration could block transfers to Turkey of F-35 fighter jets if Ankara acquires the S-400 system.

Can the US use the F-35 to shoot down Turkey’s S-400 acquisition?

With reporting from AFP

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