New Delhi (Sputnik) — In an unconcealed rebuke to those undermining India's defense relations with Russia in wake of American sanctions on Russian firms, Indian Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday categorically said that India has made it clear to the US that its relationship with Russia is lasting and the dynamics of Indo-US ties cannot influence it.
"I like to make it clear here that in all our engagements with the US, we have very clearly explained how India and Russia's defense cooperation has been going on for a very long time," Sitharaman said at an annual press conference in New Delhi.
"In all our engagements with US, we have clearly explained how India and Russia defence cooperation is a time-tested relation. We have mentioned that CATSA cannot affect India-Russia Defence Cooperation."— Raksha Mantri (@DefenceMinIndia) June 5, 2018
— Smt @nsitharaman on India-Russia Defence Cooperation pic.twitter.com/mta9v8OtKB
She made the remarks in response to a media query pertaining to the US advising India to not go ahead with purchasing S-400 air defense systems from Russia.
"The S-400 deal has been on for a very long time and we have reached the final stage of negotiations. That explains it all," Sitharaman said.
India reaches "final stage" on landmark S400 deal with Russia despite US pressure says Indian Defence Min https://t.co/rT4bvg9Nh3— Sidhant Sibal (@sidhant) June 5, 2018
A majority of India's defense assets, ranging from air defense systems to tanks and fighter jets, are sourced from Russia. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Russia continues to supply over 70% of Indian military equipment to the country and most importantly it shares critical technologies with India.
"It's a time-tested relationship and India has got quite a lot of defense assets from Russia. Assets, spares, servicing, we have a continuous relationship with Russia," Sitharaman added.