Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said negotiations to procure S-400 missile from Russia have reached its conclusive stage. The minister further said that once it will be completed, it will take about two and a half to four years to implement it. According to experts, India has decided to move ahead in air defence missile deal despite the United States sanctions on Russia. The United States officials in May said that if India would go ahead with its S-400 missile with Russia, it would attract sanction under Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
Addressing media at her office in South Block in New Delhi, Nirmala Sitharaman said CAATSA is an American law and not a United Nations or Indian law. She further said that India has communicated its stand to the Trump administration. Recalling India-Russia ties, particularly in the defence sector, Sitharaman said the government has conveyed its concern to a US Congressional delegation which visited India recently.
Alleging meddling by Russia in 2016 United States Presidential election, the Trump administration had announced sanction against Russia under the stringent law. Since then, CAATSA, a federal law that imposed sanctions on Iran, North Korea, and Russia, had made it mandatory for the Trump administration to punish states engaging with Russia, particularly defence deals.
The S-400 missile procurement from Russia would help India to strengthen its air defence mechanism, particularly along the India-China border which is nearly 4,000-km long as the Dragon continues to give threat to India.
The minister in the Modi government further spoke about various issues while addressing a press conference. Nirmala Sitharaman, dismissing the UN report on Kashmir, said UN report is without basis as India Army shows the maximum restraint in Jammu and Kashmir.