Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in India for a two-day visit during which the two countries are expected to sign a $5 billion deal for Russian S-400 missile systems despite the spectre of US sanctions.
The dinner meeting comes a day ahead of the 19th India-Russia annual summit during which the two leaders will hold comprehensive discussions on wide-ranging bilateral, regional and worldwide issues, including United States sanctions against Moscow and counter-terrorism cooperation.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi attend a presentation of a joint statement after their delegation level talks at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India, October 5, 2018.More news: India deports 7 Rohingya as SC refuses to intervene
"Our two countries have common interests in cooperating on countering terrorism, on developments in Afghanistan and Indo Pacific, climate change, and in organisations such as the SCO, BRICS, the G20 and ASEAN", Modi said. Russian Federation has been an important supplier of defence hardware to India for decades.
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has characterized the missile deal as "maybe the thorniest problem now bedeviling US-India strategic partnership".
Earlier in the week, US President Donald Trump had taken a jibe at India saying New Delhi wants to please him by having a trade deal with America. Almost 70 per cent of India's present-day defence equipment was procured from Russian Federation, according to India's Defence Ministry. USA defence contactors such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Sirkorsky who supply critical equipment to India the C-17, C-130 J transport aircraft, Apache and Chinook helicopters, will come under sanctions in the absence of a waiver. The United States is now the second-biggest supplier of arms to India: it sells 15 percent of such imports, up from next to nothing only a decade ago. The Triumph missile deal comes amid USA threat of sanctioning countries under CAATSA for their defence purchases with Russian Federation.
Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi hugged as they went into talks in the Indian capital, underlying the apparent warm rapport that the two strongmen leaders have built up in recent years.More news: Central government cuts fuel prices by Rs 2.50 a litre in India
"Russia has stood by India through time and has played a crucial role in India's growth story", he said.
The contract is estimated to be worth more than $5 billion and gives the Indian military the ability to shoot down aircraft and missiles at unprecedented ranges.
India and China had a stand-off over a Himalayan plateau a year ago after it was claimed by both Beijing and Indian ally Bhutan.
A plan for Russian Federation building its second nuclear power plant in India is on the table too, as is the training of Indian astronauts in Russian Federation for New Delhi's first crewed space mission in 2022.More news: Keita taken to hospital in Naples following defeat
Addressing the businesses, Putin said the economic cooperation between the countries is growing at a healthy rate.