December 10, 2018

Putin: Skripal is traitor and scum

04 October 2018, 12:13 | Darnell Patrick

Young Sergey Skripal as a lieutenant in the Russian Airborne Troops

Young Sergey Skripal as a lieutenant in the Russian Airborne Troops

Russian President Vladimir Putin will arrive here on Thursday on a two-day visit during which India and Russia are likely to sign a deal to procure S-400 air defence systems and deliberate on key regional and global issues, including United States sanctions on import of Iranian crude oil.

Russian Federation remains India's main arms supplier, and a string of new deals with the Asian giant would be a major win for Moscow - and a big snub to the US.

But Russia remains India's main arms supplier, and a string of new deals with the Asian giant would be a major win for Moscow - and a big snub to the US.

The US is also anxious that if India settles the deal with Russian Federation, the S-400's market will open fast as other nations will follow the example set by India, one of the biggest buyers of military hardware in the world and is also known to finalise deals after a long trial.

"India has maintained its sovereignty as regards to its relationship with countries". India is seeking the long-range missile system to strengthen its air defence mechanism, especially along the border with China.

Experts say India needs the sophisticated S-400 system to fill critical gaps in its defence capabilities, in view of China's rise and perceived threats from Pakistan, against whom India has fought three wars.

"That's that", he told a panel discussion at an energy forum.

The acquisition of the S-400 system would be the latest in a long series of Indian defence purchases, as the country has previously bought combat planes, ships and submarines from Russian Federation.

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The plan will also involve strengthening co-operation for the existing Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu and initiatives in third countries, the report added.

But military kit is the main focus.

India is going into this year's summit from a position of economic strength - the country is ranked by the International Monetary Fund among the world's ten biggest economies of 2018 - while Russian Federation is grappling with a host of economic woes brought on by the lack of reforms and the impact of Western sanctions.

Russian Federation is still India's biggest arms supplier, and the two have had warm ties since Stalin died in 1953.

Besides holding talks with Modi, the Russian president will also have a meeting with president Ram Nath Kovind at the Rashtrapati Bhawan on Friday.

Global regional forums, cultural and people-to-people contact, counter-terrorism, energy security, Syria, science and technology and civil nuclear cooperation are also likely to be on the meet's agenda, according to a India Today report.

Afghanistan though has been a sticking point, experts say, where Moscow wants to engage Taliban in the peace process - a prospect unacceptable to India.

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