Russia, India Extend Military Cooperation Deal Despite US Sanctions Risk

By Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Reporter
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist and currently a news reporter at The Epoch Times. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.
December 7, 2021 Updated: December 7, 2021

Russia and India on Monday extended a military cooperation deal through to 2030 and signed a $5.4 billion missile defense system contract, despite a possibility of sanctions from the United States.

The bilateral agreements were made between Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh and his Russian counterpart, General Sergey Shoigu, hours before a meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin for the 21st annual India-Russia summit.

“India deeply appreciates Russia’s strong support for India. We hope that our cooperation will bring peace, prosperity and stability to the entire region,” Singh said in a statement on Twitter, announcing the agreements. “Glad that a number of Agreements/Contracts/Protocols were signed pertaining to small arms and military cooperation.”

In another tweet, Singh included images of his meetings with Shoigu.

The Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation said in a statement that the delegations from the two countries signed an agreement on a program of military-technical cooperation until 2030.

“The agreement implies cooperation of the arms and services of the armed forces, and also affects the supply and development of weapons and military equipment,” the statement said.

As part of that, Singh and Shoigu came to an agreement to jointly manufacture more than 600,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles at a factory in India’s Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi region, in a deal worth more than $500,000, according to local media Hindustan Times.

Russia last month began supplying India with S-400 air defense missile systems it procured under a $5.5 billion deal signed in 2018. India has cited a rising threat from China as a reason to bolster its defenses.

“Supplies have begun this month and will continue to happen,” India’s foreign secretary, Harsh Vardhan Shringla, told reporters after Putin and Modi met on Monday evening reported The New York Times. “It is important to note that whether it is us or Russia, we conduct an independent foreign policy.”

News of the agreements come despite warnings from Washington against purchasing Russian military equipment.

A 2017 U.S. law, called the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), is aimed at deterring nations from purchasing Russian military equipment such as jets and surface-to-air-missiles, and threatens sanctions if countries do so.

The law names Russia, North Korea, and Iran as adversaries, and cites Russia’s conduct in Ukraine, interference in the U.S. 2016 elections, and assistance to Syria.

The Epoch Times has contacted the Biden administration for comment.

Epoch Times Photo
A file image of Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) and India’s Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar enter a hall to attend a press conference after their meeting in Moscow, on July 9, 2021. (Shamil Zhumatov/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke out against Washinton during the Russian delegation’s visit.

“We witness attempts on the part of the United States to undermine this cooperation and to make India obey the American orders, to follow the American vision of how this region should be developed,” Lavrov told media of the S-400 deal reported Indian news agency ANI.

“And our Indian friends clearly and firmly explained that they are a sovereign country and it will decide on whose weapons to buy and who is going to be a partner in this and other areas.”

More broadly the Russian visit to New Delhi for the summit covered a range of issues that included cooperation in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy, transport and connectivity, said a joint statement issued by the Indian government.

As part of that, India and Russia have set a target of more than tripling bilateral trade to $30 billion by the end of 2025.

“We treat India as a great power, with a people who are friendly to us, and with a remarkable history of relations between us,” Putin said on Monday, reported TASS, the Russian news agency.

The Indian prime minister summarized his meeting with Putin in a tweet on Tuesday.

“We exchanged very useful ideas for expanding our strategic, trade & investment, energy, connectivity, defence, science & technology and cultural cooperation,” Modi said on Twitter. “We also shared views on important global and regional issues.”

Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist and currently a news reporter at The Epoch Times. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.