India has agreed to buy four S-400 Triumf air defense missile systems for nearly $5.9 billion (INR 40,000 crore) from Russia.
The two countries concluded the price negotiations and are now trying to find a way to evade the provision of a US Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) law that seeks to punish countries and entities engaged in transactions with Russian defense and intelligence establishments, PTI reported quoting unnamed officials as saying Sunday.
"The negotiations for the missile deal have been concluded. The financial component has been finalised," a top official involved in the negotiations for the deal with Russia told PTI.
The official said both Russia and India are likely to announce the deal before an annual summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin in October.
India is likely to request the US to exempt its sanctions over Russia to clear its path to purchase S-400 air defense system from Moscow. “The government was also assessing if the deal would make India liable for actions by US President Donald Trump under the CAATSA,” Deccan Herald had reported in April this year.
CAATSA sanctions pose a concern for our defense relationships in the Indo-Pacific with countries such as India, Vietnam, and Indonesia. If the US decides to sanction these partner nations for their purchases of Russian equipment, this decision may hinder the growth of each developing partnership and increase each partner’s dependence on Russia,” Admiral Philip S. Davidson, the nominee for the US Pacific Command Commander (PACOM), had said last month.
US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis had also appealed to the Congress to provide India the national security waiver, saying imposing sanctions under CAATSA for S-400 missile deal would only hit the US.
The US had announced sanctions against Russia under the stringent law for its alleged meddling in the American presidential election in 2016.
There has been mounting concerns in India over the US sanctions against Russian defence majors including Rosoboronexport as billions of dollars of military purchases may be impacted because of the punitive measure.
In 2016, India and Russia had signed an agreement on the 'Triumf' interceptor-based missile system which can destroy incoming hostile aircraft, missiles and even drones at ranges of up to 400 km. S-400 is known as Russia's most advanced long-range surface-to-air missile defence system.
With long-range radars to track 100 to 300 targets simultaneously, the S-400 has different kinds of supersonic and hypersonic missiles to intercept incoming aerial threats at different ranges. India is mainly going in for long-range (120-370-km) interception missiles.
China is the first foreign purchaser of these air defense systems, while the second one is Turkey.