Russia to sign deal on S-400 shipment to India – Putin aide

An S-400 air defence missile system © Dmitriy Vinogradov
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin are expected to sign an agreement regarding the shipment of Russia's most advanced anti-aircraft defense system, the S-400 Triumph, to India.

As a result of [Putin’s] meeting with Narendra Modi the agreement for supplying India with S-400 Triumph anti-aircraft missile systems will be signed along with a number of other documents,” Yury Ushakov, Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy aide, said on Friday, as cited by TASS.

"Some of the documents will be signed behind closed doors,” he added, without offering further details regarding the missile systems’ shipment.

In December last year, India already approved the purchase of five S-400s. 

Manufactured by Russian producer Almaz Antey and introduced into service in 2007, the cutting-edge S-400 system is employed to ensure air defense using long- and medium-range missiles that can hit both aerial and land targets at ranges up to 400km (248 miles). In August this year, S-400 was delivered to a surface-to-air missile (SAM) regiment in . The Defense Ministry has previously announced that 16 regiments of the Russian Army will be equipped with S-400s by the end of the year.

In 2015, the hardware was also deployed to Russia’s Arctic region, and in Syria at the Russian Air Force base in Latakia. The first foreign buyer of the S-400 was China, with the deal announced in the spring of 2015. According to media reports, the transaction amounted to about $3 billion.

Apart from S-400, a deal on the production of 11356 project frigates for the Indian naval forces is on the agenda of the two leaders’ meeting, according to Ushakov. The ships belong to the latest class of destroyers and six of them are soon to join the Russian Black Sea Fleet. 

Earlier this week Russian Minister of Trade and Industry Denis Manturov said New Delhi had sent an official request to Moscow to begin joint production of civilian aircraft for India. He said there are plans for a joint venture to produce and supply Ka-226T utility helicopters, a new version of the light multi-purpose Ka-226 helicopter, capable of carrying up to 1,100kg payload in the cabin or on an external sling. Ushakov on Friday confirmed that an agreement to build up to 200 Ka-226T helicopters is on the leaders’ table as well.

India has been a traditional buyer of Russian arms since the 1950s. Over the last five years, about 70 percent of the country's military purchases came from Russia. 

India is Russia's especially privileged strategic partner. Our countries actively collaborate in the military technical field. Russia remains in the lead in terms of both direct supplies of most advanced weapons and military equipment and conducting joint researches with India, as well as producing goods for military purposes,” Putin told Rossiya Segodnya and IANS news agencies on Thursday ahead of his visit to India, praising bilateral relations between the two nations.

The leaders are set to sign some 18 documents, Ushakov said. In addition to the bilateral agenda, Putin and Modi are expected to discuss the situation in Syria, Afghanistan and other countries, as well as the global battle against terrorism.

The meeting will take place in the Indian state of Goa on October 15, ahead of the BRICS summit.

The Russian delegation includes Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin and the heads of Industry and Trade department, Energy Ministry, Ministry of Economic Development, Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation and several others.

After the talks Putin and Modi will take part in laying the foundation stones for the third and fourth blocks of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant (NPP) via a video conference call. The power station is currently being built by Rosatom as part of a deal signed between Moscow and New Delhi back in 1998, with the first unit already put into operation in August this year.