India to send military team for S-400 training in Russia despite US sanction threats
Iran Press TV
Friday, 22 January 2021 10:57 AM
India is set to send a team of military specialists to Russia, where they will receive training on the S-400 air defense system, which New Delhi plans to purchase from Moscow despite US threats of sanctions.
Russian ambassador to India, Nikolay Kudashev, said that the military's team's upcoming departure is a "remarkable occasion" that will usher in "a new stage in our strategic partnership."
Kudashev defended a $5.4 billion deal that was signed between New Delhi and Moscow in October 2018, for India's purchase of five long-range surface-to-air missiles, from Russia.
The first batch of the S-400s is expected to be delivered by the end of this year and all deliveries will be completed in a five-year period.
Kudashev also said Moscow was "successfully moving towards implementation" of several other arms deals with India.
He also mentioned the production of more than 700,000 AK-203 Kalashnikov rifles by a joint venture in India as well as the supply of 200 Ka-226 helicopters and production in the Asian country.
The two have signed an advanced cooperation agreement in combat aviation, main battle tanks, frigates, submarines and missiles, and joint production of the BrahMos cruise missile.
Kudashev said that the two countries are "deeply involved" in joint development and production of military equipment, components and spare parts, sharing of technologies and improving after-sales service.
"We have developed an advanced legal base for this purpose," he added.
This comes as former US administration warned earlier this week that New Delhi would not get a wide waiver from a 2017 US law aimed at deterring countries from buying Russian military hardware.
The act has been brandished by Washington against allied nations mulling weapons deals with Russia â€” namely India and Turkey.
Observers say Washington's position is unlikely to change now that Donald Trump has left office and President Joe Biden's administration takes the wheel.
India has, however, emphasized that it can make its own arms purchases independently, and that it would not be influenced by other countries on its national security and defense.
"India has always pursued an independent foreign policy," said India's external affairs ministry.
"This also applies to our defense acquisitions and supplies which are guided by our national security interests," he added.
Washington has repeatedly threatened its allies and partners with sanctions if they have military transactions with Russia.
Last month, it imposed sanction on NATO ally, Turkey, over its acquisition of Russia's S-400 missile systems.
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