New Delhi: India and Russia ‘did not discuss the issue pertaining to the US pressure on the S-400 missile deal between the two countries’, visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday. Lavrov, on the contrary, warned that Washington’s pressure over the missile system deal between New Delhi and Moscow may have a ‘reciprocal reaction’.
“With India, we do not discuss these statements by the US. Instead, we confirmed that we are going into diplomatic military cooperation. We have an intergovernmental committee. The military-technical cooperation has its own plan. We also discussed additional manufacturing of the Russian military equipment in India within the concept of made in India and in the concept of independent India. So here I don’t hear any fluctuations or changes from our Indian partners and friends,” Lavrov said.
“”It wasn’t me who said the US exercised pressure on India but any other country which wanted to sign an agreement with Russia on the delivery of weapons… If the US says this overtly we all will know, but we also know the reciprocal reaction,” he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI. Lavrov was on a two-day visit to India and held a delegation-level meeting with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.
Specific Issue Not Discussed: Jaishankar
Jaishankar also added that the ‘specific issue’ pertaining to the US views on India’s procurement of the S-400 deal with Russia ‘was not discussed”.
The Russian Foreign Minister’s warning came after US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said that the procurement of the missile system may attract sanctions against India under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
The $5.4-billion missile systems deal has been work-in-progress over the past few years. In 2018, India signed a deal with Russia, despite warnings by the Donald Trump administration. In 2019, India also made the first tranche of payment of about $800 million. Earlier this year, Russia had said that the S-400 deal was on track despite the US meddling in the issue.