PM Modi, Vladimir Putin discuss strategic issues over one-on-one dinner

Putin in India US and China keep watch as New Delhi eyes key defence deals with Russia

FILE - Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, May 21, 2018. China signed a deal for six battalions of the S-400 in 2015 and countries like Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iraq are in line.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was given a warm welcome in India by foreign minister Sushma Swaraj before a hug from PM Narendra Modi followed by a lavish dinner.

According to a report, India and Russian Federation will sign a deal for the multi-billion-dollar S-400 surface-to-air missile system this week.

Late last month, the Trump administration imposed sanctions under Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act or CAATSA, which was signed into law last August, on China for purchasing fighter jets and missile defence system from Russian Federation. That is a condition for a waiver on CAATSA, a provision written into the otherwise inflexible law by sustained diplomacy by the Trump administration. The US has imposed military sanctions against Russian Federation under stringent CAATSA (Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act).

"India has maintained its sovereignty as regards to its relationship with countries".

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Moscow is also pushing for India s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group of countries controlling access to nuclear technology. The country wants closer ties with India to counter China and now has to walk the tightrope in how it reacts to the possible S-400 air defence deal.

While all the noise is around the arms deal, if signed, it could violate the sanctions by the US under Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which is initiated by the US Congress on purchases of arms from Russian Federation. One is associated with attempts to create competitive advantages for its own products using political pressure (it is known that the United States offered its Patriot systems to India instead of S-400).

The US on Wednesday urged its allies not to enter into transactions with Russian Federation and warned that it would trigger American sanctions, a day after it was reported that India was planning to purchase multi-billion S-400 missile defence system from Moscow. The Modi government hopes the Trump administration will not disrupt burgeoning defence ties with the world's biggest arm importer by levying sanctions the U.S. Congress has sought. The current uncertainties in the oil market, especially about how many Iranian barrels will be lost to US sanctions, will persist for at least another month until the market gets some clarity on the Iran sanctions, Novak noted.

The law is created to punish Putin for the 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, involvement in the Syrian civil war and meddling in the 2016 USA presidential election. They are also likely to discuss certain issues of crucial importance, especially Russia's proximity to Pakistan.

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