India will receive delivery of the first batch of Russian S-400 Triumf air-defence missiles by 2023. Russia is hoping New Delhi will make the first tranche of payment “soon”.
“We will deliver the first batch (out of the five squadrons of S-400 missiles) by 2023,” said Roman Babushkin, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Russia, during a media briefing Wednesday.
According to Russian Trade Commissioner Yaroslav Tarasyuk, India will “soon” make 20 per cent of the payment towards the $5.2 billion missile deal under the new payment mechanism. Russia has plans to deliver the first batch of S-400 missiles once the first installment is made, after which it will deliver the remaining four.
Sberbank of Russia — that has a branch in New Delhi — will receive the amount in rupees and pay Moscow in ruble under the new payment mechanism.
The VTM Bank of Russia, which has presence in India, will also be directed to get engaged in defence deals between New Delhi and Moscow.
Threat of US sanctions ::
India has been facing threat of sanctions by the US for procuring these missiles from Moscow. America has threatened to impose sanctions on India under the CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) legislation.
Washington has already taken such an action against China. The country is also contemplating the same for Turkey, which recently purchased the missiles from Russia.
Meanwhile, Union Minister for Foreign Affairs S. Jaishankar is currently visiting Moscow and has met his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.
Next month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit Vladivostok to attend the Eastern Economic Forum, where he will be the chief guest, from 4-6 September. In the next few weeks from then, India will be holding the second round of “2+2” ministerial dialogue with the US in Washington. India is hoping to get a CAATSA waiver from the US on defence purchases from Russia.
‘Kashmir an internal issue’ ::
Responding to a query related to Kashmir situation following abrogation of Article 370, Babushkin said Kashmir is an internal issue and whatever outstanding matter remained on the dispute shall be solved bilaterally between New Delhi and Islamabad.
He, however, said Moscow would be willing to “mediate” if both sides approached it.
“We do not want to play a role in a bilateral dispute between India and Pakistan. We can mediate if both sides ask us. But we understand this is a bilateral matter according to the 1972 Simla pact,” he added.
On the issue of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Aksai Chin, Babushkin said the matter should be solved politically between the countries concerned and not militarily.