'Russia standing by Iran's side as sanctions return'

'Russia standing by Iran's side as sanctions return'

'Russia standing by Iran's side as sanctions return'

According to a report, India and Russian Federation will sign a deal for the multi-billion-dollar S-400 surface-to-air missile system this week.

Ambassador Ashok Sajjanhar told IANS in an interview here ahead of Russian President Vladimir Putin's official visit to India that he is also "reasonably confident" that New Delhi would be granted a waiver from the U.S. sanctions on Iran, due to kick in from November 4, on oil purchases from the Persian Gulf nation.

Putin will then meet his Indian counterpart - President Ram Nath Kovind, at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

India has signaled it will ask Washington for a special waiver from the sanctions to purchase the S-400 systems.

On October 5, India and Russia's Prime Ministers will assemble in New Delhi for the much awaited bilateral summit.

The purchase assumes important as it will violate sanctions under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) enforced by the US Congress on arms purchases from Russian Federation, though there is a possibility of a presidential waiver.

"With the US" domestic legislation discouraging countries like India from engaging in "significant' trade with Russian Federation, there is a high-visibility political sub-text about how this deal will impact the India-US bi-lateral", said Commodore (retired) Uday Bhaskar, Director at Society for Policy Studies.

"The key feature of this visit will be the signing of the agreement to deliver S-400 air defense systems", he said.

The US had warned India against the planned purchase.

India is going into this year's summit from a position of economic strength - the country is ranked by the International Monetary Fund among the world's ten biggest economies of 2018 - while Russian Federation is grappling with a host of economic woes brought on by the lack of reforms and the impact of Western sanctions.

"The Administration has indicated that a focus area for the implementation of CAATSA Section 231 is new or qualitative upgrades in capability - including the S-400 air and missile defense system", the spokesperson said. "We shall maintain it in all earnestness".

Russians' trust in Vladimir Putin has dropped to its lowest point since the annexation of Crimea as his unpopular increase in the pension age is signed into law. The move is expected to open up more opportunities for the Indian SME sector through new markets, joint ventures, sharing of best practices and technology collaborations. In May, Modi had travelled to the Russian coastal city of Sochi for an informal summit with Putin during which they discussed a range of crucial issues.

There are also the reports that India will also sign one more deal during the visit and might purchase four frigates from Russian Federation.

The plan will also involve strengthening co-operation for the existing Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu and initiatives in third countries, the report added.

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