New Delhi, June 6: Foreign ministry spokesperson has on Thursday said India would go ahead with a deal to purchase Russian made S-400 air defense missile system, despite the United States threat of sanctions.
The US has been long trying to convince India to abandon the Russian deal of S-400, following attempts to pressurize Turkey to ink a deal with American-made systems in the face of penalties.
The ministry spokesperson said: “I really can not share how are we going to tackle the whole issue. We already have a contract which has been signed and you already know that steps are being undertaken to implement the contract. We are engaged and we have engaged with the US administration as well as the US Congress on the issue of CAATSA.”
According to Sputnik news reports, the spokesperson was referring to the CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act), a 2017 law that provides the US a right to impose economic penalties on any nation if it goes ahead to acquire any military equipment from Russia.
The official said “defence cooperation between India and the US is an important component of our strategic partnership”, same as Russia.
The comments came days after India’s NDTV cited an unnamed US state department’s senior official as saying New Delhi’s decision to purchase Russian S-400s could erode the nation’s future defence cooperation with the US.
In October 2018, Russia and India inked a $5.43 billion agreement for S-400s, with the first batch of purchase starting in October 2020, while the other four will be delivered in 2023 and join the Indian Air Force (IAF).
In April, Nirmala Sitharam, the former Indian defence minister, has expressed hope New Delhi would try to avert US penalties over its purchase of Russia’s military equipment.
She told AFP: “In the case of S-400 we have explained ourselves well. That has been heard and understood. They have appreciated the point of view put forward.”