New Delhi, India - India-Russia ties have received a boost with a $5bn deal that will see New Delhi buy an S air defence system from. Shifting geopolitical dynamics, especially the rise of China, spell trouble for this long-standing relationship. India's relations with the former Soviet Union, and subsequently with Russia, . discussions in the early '80s in Moscow of the Indo-Soviet documentary on.
India and Russian signed eight agreements during Putin's two-day trip to New Delhi. The S systems' deliveries to India will begin in the next two years.
India signs S deal with Russia sidestepping US opposition | India | Al Jazeera
India places top priority on ties with Russia. In today's fast-changing world, our relationship assumes heightened importance," Modi told Putin.
New Delhi's overtures towards Moscow come at a time when India is also facing the heat of a US trade war through hefty import tariffs. India places top priority on ties with Russia Narendra Modi, the Indian prime minister Moscow has long been the main supplier of military equipment to India but in recent years, New Delhi has been inching towards the US and Israel for weapons supply.
Modi meets Putin as India walks US-Russia tightrope | India | Al Jazeera
Russia is biggest military supplier Modi's right-wing government has pursued closer ties with Washington since it came to power four years ago. Relations between India and Russia had taken a backseat. For Moscow, the inking of a major defence deal with one of Asia's key growing powers is no small matter. Otherwise, it risks damaging its relationship with India," said Joshi. Future of US-India relations Security analysts in Asia said the US' threat of sanctions is being seen as bullying and would not really deter deals like the one India just inked with Russia.
Washington's plans to hit Russia's defence trade aren't really realistic Vassily Kashin, the Institute of the Russian Far East "Since April, India has not made any payments to Russia for weapons purchases.
Trump's America-first policy A report in Russian business daily, Kommersant, in November last year said Moscow was miffed with India reportedly allowing US forces access to a Russian-built nuclear-powered submarine that is currently on lease to the Indian navy. The report quoted Russian officials considering these as "unfriendly acts towards Russia".
Moscow has long been the main supplier of military equipment to India, but in recent years, New Delhi has been inching towards the US and Israel for weapons supply.
But with Trump's America-first policy — as part of which the US has slapped new trade tariffs affecting Indian and Chinese firms, New Delhi is working to improve its relations with Russia and China. In April, Indian Defence Minister Sitharaman, in an address at a security conference in Moscow said, "Russia has re-established its role and influence in global strategic and defence matters". India is friends with and trades extensively with Russia and Iran that are currently facing American sanctions.
New Delhi, one of the biggest buyers of Iranian crude, will have to find measures to nullify the effect of US sanctions on Iran, which would certainly be high on the agenda of talks between Modi and Putin, experts say.
Russian military hardware accounted for 62 percent of India's total weapons imports during the past five years, the Stockholm Peace Research Institute said in a report this year.
The top adviser to the Indian government said India will defend its trade interests with both Russia and Iran. It's not a tap, which you can switch off. Russia still has the lion's share in our defence imports as compared to the US," Raghavan told Al Jazeera.
Modi meets Putin as India walks US-Russia tightrope
Washington will have to take this into account, he argued. India's relations with the US have also been hit by trade frictions.
New Delhi is still waiting for an exemption from higher tariffs on steel and aluminum imports announced by the Trump administration.
The US is also imposing tougher visa rules that targets India's information technology industry. New Delhi-Beijing thaw Daniel Chirot, Professor of International Studies at the University of Washington, said the Trump administration "believes it can bully other countries into acceding to its demands, even if those are often mistaken".
These irritants in the Indo-US relationship could fuel some rethink in Indian foreign policy, according to analysts. Some signs of this are already visible - the trips to Russia from key Modi aides as well as an olive branch to neighbouring China.