New Delhi will press Moscow to expedite the delivery of advanced S-400 anti-aircraft systems, according to Indian media. The request coincides with Defense Minister Rajnath Singh’s 3-day visit to Russia.
India’s acquisition of the high-tech military hardware is expected to be a top agenda item for Singh, who arrived in Moscow on Tuesday. India is set to procure five S-400s batteries as part of a $5.4bn deal.
A source familiar with the matter told the Times of India that New Delhi had been late to make its first payment for the systems, delaying delivery by several months. Russia has signaled that it will still try to stick to the original delivery schedule, but New Delhi hopes to expedite the process even further, the source said.
Singh will likely visit S-400 production facilities in St. Petersburg on Thursday – perhaps a reflection of New Delhi’s impatience to receive the weapons. Upon arriving in Moscow, Singh addressed CEOs from the Russian defense industry and inaugurated the India-Russia Defense Industry Cooperation Conference.The new conference aims to promote technology transfer and investment between India and Russia’s defense industries.
Washington has been vehemently opposed to the S-400 deal, and attempted to pressure New Delhi to drop the contract. However, India did not give in, and even worked with Moscow to develop a payment mechanism that could bypass US sanctions against Russian weapon sales.
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