Ahead of the meeting between Vladimir Putin and Narendra Modi, Russia and India extended their military agreement until 2031. In regards to its defense procurement strategy, India wants to work with both the United States and Russia.
Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh and Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu met on December 6 before prime ministers meet.
The two countries agreed on a military technology cooperation for the next 10 years.
Moreover, India and Russia signed for a deal on 600,000 AK-203 assault rifles. They will be built in a joint venture in India, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, and be used by India’s military force. The deal is worth 51 billion rupees (US $676 million), the Hindustan Times reports.
Russia and India are expected to sign about a dozen agreements in the defense, trade, energy or space industries.
Russian defense system should be delivered in a few weeks
It is only the second visit of Vladimir Putin outside his country since the Covid-19 outbreak, marking the importance of the meeting. In fact, Putin’s visit also comes at a time when the first of the five squadrons of S-400 air defense systems should be delivered before the end of the year. This important deal signed in 2018 is worth $5.5 billion.
In response to this deal, the United States could theoretically impose sanctions to India with the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). When Turkey bought the S-400 air-defense missile system, the United States removed Turkey from the F-35 fighter jet acquisition program in 2019.
But India claims its autonomy in procurement of defense material.
Washington and Delhi are also close partners. They are both members of the QUAD, the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue where the United States, India, Australia and Japan discuss Indo-Pacific stability to counter Chinese ambitions. In October, some of the Indian and American troops engaged in a joint exercise in Alaska.
One of the core areas of focus for India’s external relations is its defense against China, which is a common concern with the United States.