India's Chief of Amy Staff General Bipin Rawat has signaled his country's resolve to pursue an independent policy in the face of looming US sanctions over New Delhi's purchase of Russian S-400 missile systems.
"When Russians asked about the American sanctions, my reply was, 'Yes, we do appreciate that there could be sanctions on us, but we follow an independent policy. You can be rest assured. While we may be associating with America in getting some technology, we follow an independent policy'," Rawat underscored.
He added that Russia is "very keen" on collaborating with the Indian Army because "we are a strong army, capable of standing up for what is right for us, based on our strategic thought-process."
Rawat also said that the Indian Armed Forces are considering purchasing Kamov helicopters and other weapon systems from Russia.
The statement came following Rawat's six-day visit to Russia where he met the country's highest-ranking military officials to discuss bilateral defense cooperation.
Earlier, the Russian President's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that India and Russia had signed the $5.4 billion S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile deal on Friday during a bilateral meeting in New Delhi.
The delivery of the five advanced S-400 batteries will reportedly begin in October 2020 despite the looming threat of US financial sanctions against India.
For its part, India has more than once made it clear that the US sanctions would not keep it from making crucial purchases from Russia. Indian Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman described CAATSA as American legislation rather than a UN law, stressing that India would go ahead with the implementation of the S-400 deal.