Russia, India to sign $5 billion deal on S-400s this week

Serbian president arrives in Moscow after Kosovo border crisis

As Russian President Vladimir Putin visits India, the most high profile item on the agenda will be a deal for New Delhi to buy a multi-billion-dollar air defense system and other weaponry.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomes Russian President Vladimir Putin to New Delhi on Thursday.

"Next on the itinerary is the signing of bilateral documents, and there are many of them in the portfolio", he said.

He added that an informal meeting would take place on October 4, in the course of which the sides would exchange opinions on global and bilateral issues.

The S-400 system, which is effective against aircraft as well as ballistic and cruise missiles, has a maximum range of 250 miles.

India has signed more than $15 billion in US defense contracts since 2008, including for C-130J and C-17 transport aircraft, P-8I maritime patrol aircraft, Harpoon missiles and Apache and Chinook helicopters.

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India will press ahead with the purchase of advanced air defence systems from Russian Federation despite a warning from the Pentagon that it could face sanctions from the United States. India is seeking the long-range missile system to strengthen its air defence mechanism, especially along the border with China.

British officials said the poisoning was carried out by Russia's GRU military intelligence agency, nearly certainly acting with the approval of Russian officials.

The US is now number two, though, supplying the Indian military with advanced hardware like Apache attack helicopters and negotiating the sale of armed drones. The US side reassured New Delhi that the CAATSA law (Countering America's Adversaries through Sanctions Act) would not apply to legacy platforms or spares, but new buys could be impacted.

New Delhi is hoping for a waiver from the United States, which passed a law past year placing automatic sanctions on countries dealing with Russia's defense and intelligence sectors.

However, the USA is in a hard position when it comes to India. A large number of agreements are expected to be signed, which is normal for India-Russia summits. The kingdom has "significantly" raised production to a near-record level of 10.7 million barrels a day, Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih told reporters in the Moscow. But immediately after the end of the talks, Secretary of State Pompeo made quite conciliatory statements, meaning that India is too important partner for the United States and Washington would not want to jeopardize these relations by taking some steps that can be viewed in Delhi as hostile. Welcoming Modi to Sochi "personally as a big friend" of Russia, Putin said his visit would give a fresh impetus to bilateral ties.

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