India May be the First Buyer of S-500 System: Russian Deputy PM

Foreign Affairs

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New Delhi: Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov has said that India may be the first buyer of the S-500 air defence system. Speaking to TV channel RBC, Borisov said, “Beyond a doubt, once we deliver this system to our troops, India will be the first on the list, if it expresses its desire to buy these advanced armaments”.

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The S-500 ‘Prometei’ anti-aircraft missile system is the most advanced Russian mobile surface-to-air system and was put into service earlier this year. In 2019, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed interest in buying the S-500 missiles.

The comments by the Russian Deputy PM comes even as India is getting deliveries of S-400 systems. The contract for the system was signed during President Putin’s 2018 visit to India and deliveries started this month. But the worries over Washington’s CAATSA sanctions on India exists. Washington is mum as of now if New Delhi will be sanctioned over the -S400 deal.

In response to a question over Washington’s sanctions, foreign secretary Harsh Shringla pointed out that it is a ” legacy contract” and “supplies have begun this month and will continue to happen.”

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Defence forms the main pillar of the partnership between Russia and India. BRAHMOS missile, licensed production of SU 30 aircraft, T30 Tanks are examples of this cooperation. The next big focus is the joint production of AK series assault rifles in India.