10:39 GMT +307 December 2019
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    India's Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. (File)

    India Defends its Decision to Buy Russian Arms, says it’s ‘a Sovereign Right’

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    New Delhi (Sputnik): Indian External Affairs Minister Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, who is on a visit to the United States, held wide-ranging talks on bilateral, regional and international issues with his counterpart, Secretary Mike Pompeo in Washington.

    Speaking with reporters ahead of his meeting with Secretary Pompeo, Dr. Jaishankar said New Delhi would also address Washington’s concerns regarding India's acquisition of S-400 missile system from Russia, but did not elaborate.

    “We have always maintained that what we buy, the sourcing of military equipment, is very much a sovereign right,” said Dr. Jaishankar.

    After his meeting with Pompeo, Dr. Jaishankar tweeted that he had “a good conversation” on the progress of bilateral relations.

    ​The US imposed sanctions against Moscow in 2017 under the Countering American Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which bars countries from buying major arms from Russia.

    India, however, conveyed to the Trump Administration earlier this year during the visit of Secretary Mike Pompeo to New Delhi that purchase of S-400 missile defence system is in the national interest.

    India and Russia had signed a $5.43 billion S-400 contract for the purchase of five S-400 missile defence systems, despite the US threat of sanctions. India remains a major defence partner for Russia; approximately 58 percent of its arms imports between 2014 and 2018 were sourced from Russia.

    The US strongly condemned Turkey, Washington's NATO partner, earlier this year over the purchase of the Russian air defence systems, forcing the cancellation of a major F-35 purchase deal despite Ankara having contributed to the warplane's development.

     

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