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Putin, Modi ink $5 billion deal for India to get S-400 missile systems

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed a $5 billion deal for India to procure one of the world's most advanced air-defence systems, the S-400 Triumf missile shield. The system is expected to be delivered by 2020, reported India Today.

The two nations also signed deals for more space cooperation. The official announcement will be made soon. An Indian monitoring station will be built near the Russian city of Novosibirsk in Siberia, read a report in ANI.

S-400 is known as Russia's most advanced long-range surface-to-air missile defence system. China was the first foreign buyer to seal a government-to-government deal with Russia in 2014 to procure the lethal missile system. Moscow has already started delivering an undisclosed number of the S-400 missile systems to Beijing.

The S-400 is an upgraded version of the S-300 systems. The missile system, manufactured by Almaz-Antey, has been in service in Russia since 2007.

The 19th annual India-Russia bilateral summit is being held at New Delhi's Hyderabad House.

Ignoring the American sanction on purchase of arms from Russia, India signed a deal today for the procurement of S-400 Triumf air defence systems.

During the summit, India and Russia are expected to sign 20 bilateral agreements including a deal for the purchase of four Krivak-class frigates worth $2 billion (Rs 1,476 crore at current exchange rates).

Besides, in the third defence deal, India will be purchasing 200 light utility Ka-226 helicopters for $1 billion (Rs 737.85 crore at current price). This chopper deal has already been agreed upon through an inter-governmental agreement. Of the 200 Ka-226 helicopters, 60 would be built in Russia and the rest in India.

Putin and PM Modi will also discuss the issue of security challenges in the AfPak (Afghanistan-Pakistan) region, the threat of terrorism that emanates from Pakistan and US sanctions on import of Iranian crude oil.

The India-Russia summits are the highest level official exchange between the two countries. The summits are held alternately in India and Russia. The last summit was held in St Petersburg in 2017.

The Russian president is accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Trade and Industry Minister Denis Manturov.

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India and Russia on Friday signed a pact to build six more nuclear reactors at a new site in India following summit talks between their leaders in New Delhi, reported The Japan Times.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also agreed to cooperate on India’s plan for a manned space mission.

Russian state-owned reactor manufacturer Rosatom said in a statement that the two countries want to build six Russian-designed nuclear reactors on a new site in India, boost nuclear cooperation in third countries and new nuclear technologies and are considering building nuclear plants together.

The firm said Russia would offer to build its third-generation VVER reactor on the new site and would increase the level of participation of Indian companies in the project.

A Rosatom official said the pact is not a firm contract yet, but an agreement to work towards a contract.

India has not chosen the new site yet, which could be controversial as the country has seen vehement protests against new nuclear sites.

If confirmed, the agreement would be one of the biggest nuclear industry deals in recent years, and would bind the two countries for decades.

Two Russian-built VVER-1000 reactors have been in commercial operation in Kudankulam, southern India, since 2014 and 2017 respectively. Construction on two more started last year with a target for commercial start-up in 2025 and 2026.

Last year, the Russian and Indian governments signed an agreement to build reactors 5 and 6 on the site and Putin said at the time that Russia is ready to build a dozen reactors in India over the next 20 years.

“We expect to start building a series of new units at a second site in India in the near future,” Rosatom Director-General Alexey Likhachev said in a statement.

Rosatom has become the world’s largest nuclear reactor builder as the financial problems of the two big Western firms Westinghouse and Areva have crimped their ability to develop nuclear plants abroad.

Rosatom operates 35 reactors in Russia with a combined capacity of 28 gigawatts and says it has a portfolio of 36 nuclear power plant projects in 12 countries.

Westinghouse and Areva, now owned by EDF, have for years negotiated deals to build reactors in India but have made little progress, partly because Indian nuclear liability legislation gives reactor manufacturers less protection against claims for damages in case of accidents.

India is the world’s third-biggest oil importer, and two industry sources have said it will buy 9 million barrels of Iranian oil in November, indicating it will continue purchasing crude from Iran despite U.S. sanctions coming into force on Nov. 4.

“Refiners have placed November nominations to lift 1.25 million tons (about 9 million barrels) of oil from Iran,” one of the sources said.

Indian Oil Corp. will lift 6 million barrels of Iranian oil and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd. 3 million barrels, the source said.

The United States plans to impose new sanctions targeting Iran’s oil sector on Nov. 4 to try to stop the country’s involvement in conflicts in Syria and Iraq and bring Tehran to the negotiating table over its ballistic missile program.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in India last month that the Trump administration would consider waivers for Iranian oil buyers such as India but they must eventually bring the imports to zero.

Indian refiners imported around 10 million barrels of Iranian oil in October, and its November shipments are expected to be lower.

In the previous round of sanctions from 2012 to 2015, India continued to buy Iranian crude, although it had to cut purchases significantly to protect its wider exposure to the U.S. financial system.

India’s foreign minister said in May it abides only by sanctions imposed by the United Nations and not those imposed by any other country.

With the European Union considering the creation of a “special purpose vehicle” before November to facilitate trade with Iran, India hopes to find a way to settle payments to Tehran.

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