Putin in India: US and China keep watch as New Delhi eyes key defence deals with Russia

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New Delhi: Hugs and banquets are over and it is time for crucial business. Russian President Vladimir Putin was given a warm welcome in India by foreign minister Sushma Swaraj before a hug from PM Narendra Modi followed by a lavish dinner. On Friday, all eyes would be on key defence deals likely to be signed between the two countries.

Top of the agenda at Hyderabad House on Friday morning could be the $5-billion deal for the advanced S-400 air defence system. The United States had previously raised objections to New Delhi buying the weapon system. The US administration is required under a domestic law, Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act or CAATSA to impose sanctions on any country that has “significant transactions” with Iran, North Korea or Russia. But the US has a problem. The country wants closer ties with India to counter China and now has to walk the tightrope in how it reacts to the possible S-400 air defence deal. After all, sanctions won’t be as easy on India as it was last month when financial sanctions were imposed on China for buying S-400 as well as Su-35 fighter jets from Russia.

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