The Indian Defense Acquisition Council (DAC) has cleared a $5.5 billion agreement to purchase S-400 air defense missile systems from Russia despite US opposition to the deal.
The DAC council that gathered on Thursday approved the deal with ‘minor deviations’, Times of India reported quoting unnamed sources Sunday.
The deal gained preliminary approval from the DAC in 2016. However, the final document, which was discussed during the recent commercial negotiations with Russia, still required some adjustment.
"The S-400 procurement case will now go to the finance ministry for clearance and the PM-led Cabinet Committee on Security for the final nod. The country’s top political leadership will have to take a call on when the actual contract can be inked," the Times of India reported quoting a source as saying.
The clearance comes days after US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley had said in an interview with India’s NDTV earlier this week that the issue of Russian defense contract with India would be discussed during the first round of 2+2 US-India talks, involving ministers of foreign affairs and defense from both sides.
The talks did not happen and is slated for a future date.
Indian media reported earlier that the country’s defense ministry expects an approval from the Governmental Committee on Security (CCS) to buy five S-400 complexes from Russia for a total of around $5.5 bln. The reports sparked concern in Washington. Particularly, the Chairman of the US House Armed Services Committee William Thornberry said in an interview with NDTV, that India’s S-400 purchases from Russia might affect the defense collaboration between India and the United States.
India’s defense minister Nirmala Sitharaman said June 5, that Moscow and New Delhi had reached the final stage of negotiations on the S-400 deal.