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India to Pursue S-400 Deal With Russia Despite Looming US Sanctions: Sources

The deal for five mobile squadrons of S-400 self-propelled surface-to-air air defense systems was signed in October 2018.

India is pursuing its $5.5 billion deal with Russia for five mobile squadrons of S-400 self-propelled surface-to-air air defense systems despite threats of US sanctions, sources close to the matter told Reuters. The agreement was signed in October 2018 when Russian President Vladimir Putin visited India.

Threats of sanctions started during Trump’s administration, which warned Delhi to drop the deal. A 2017 US law, the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act, prohibits countries from buying Russian military hardware and only allows countries to continue dealing with Moscow upon securing a waiver.

With the change of presidency in the US, India is hopeful it will gain a waiver, although the Biden administration is expected to have the same stance as its predecessor.

“India and the US have a comprehensive global strategic partnership. India has a special and privileged strategic partnership with Russia,” Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said about the S-400 purchase.

India’s decision to buy the system was based on thorough evaluation and national security requirements, people familiar with the deal told HindustanTimes.

The country’s recent skirmishes with China pressured it to step up its military developmentin. India recently demonstrated its drone swarm capability by deploying a group of 75 unmanned aerial vehicles and destroying an array of simulated military targets.

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