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Massive News : Two S-400s systems shipped to India ahead of Vladimir Putin’s visit

Source : The Economic Times

Two S-400s systems shipped to India ahead of Vladimir Putin’s visit
Russian S-400 Shipment (File Photo/AFP)

Ahead of Monday’s Indo-Russian summit, Russia has shipped two units of the S-400 missile defence systems, which are expected to reach here by the middle of this month, ET has learnt. Both sides are expected to sign 10 agreements in various areas during the summit. The deployment of the missile systems – with support from Russian specialists – is expected to take place over the next two-three months, ET has learnt.

One of the systems could be deployed along the country’s Western borders. The remaining three of the total five S-400 systems that India has purchased is expected to arrive by September 2022, ET has further learnt. “New Delhi pursues a strategic autonomy with regard to defence purchases – India bought Rafale fighter jets from France, Apache helicopters from USA and with Russia and earlier Soviet Union we have long standing defence ties,” a person familiar with the matter said on Saturday.

The 21st annual summit will see Russian President Vladimir Putin travelling to the Indian capital for less than 10 hours despite the ongoing pandemic, displaying commitment to the strategic Indo-Russian partnership.

The summit will be preceded by a maiden 2+2 Ministerial meet and joint military commission and foreign minister level meet – all on Monday.

Besides, a 10-year defence agreement, contract for jointly manufacturing AK-203 rifles, mutual logistics pact and a navy-to-navy cooperation agreement are expected to be signed at the summit.

On whether the 2 + 2 Ministerial format was an attempt at balancing India’s 2 + 2 with the United States, Australia and Japan, the person said that the India-Russia 2 + 2 stood on its own merit.

“It is only natural that we have a 2 + 2 format with Russia given the depth of our ties and wide-ranging areas that both focus on,” the person said. “Notwithstanding the pandemic, there have been several Ministerial visits from either side over the last two years. Eleven governors of Far-East Russia will be present at the Vibrant Gujarat summit next month,” the person added.

The 2 + 2 format will focus on global issues, including Afghanistan, Central Asia and Indian Ocean Region.

Far-East Russia will be an area of special focus during Monday’s summit, which will also focus on expansion of energy ties, civil nuclear partnership and space partnership.

Increasing trade and investment ties will also receive special attention, so will connectivity in Eurasia and via the Indian Ocean and the Pacific.

Meanwhile, in Moscow, Russian Presidential Aide Yuri Ushakov said about 10 “bilateral agreements will be signed, which are quite important and include some semi-confidential ones.”

“Work is still ongoing on them. We are confident that the package of agreements will be signed as part of the visit,” Ushakov told reporters, without naming any specific agreements as they are still being finalized.

They “are important for the development of bilateral ties in most diverse areas,” he added.

The delegations will be downsized due to Covid-19 restrictions and include, on the Russian side, foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, defence minister Sergey Shoigu, Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin and Ushakov.

Putin is scheduled to arrive in India late afternoon Moscow time on Monday, head straight to the meeting venue and return to Russia immediately after the talks wrap up, Ushakov said.

Putin and Modi may make a statement to the media, while Lavrov and Shoigu may also speak to reporters, Ushakov added.

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