06:05 GMT13 May 2021
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    Indian Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said that since most of India’s military assets are sourced from Russia and many more purchase deals are in the pipeline, the US sanctions against Russia would not be impacting "this particular characteristic of India-Russia defense cooperation."

    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.

    ​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.

    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.


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