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Russia, India agree to widen military cooperation

Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile launchers are displayed in Sevastopol in 2018.

COURTESY OF RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY

By AMIE FERRIS-ROTMAN | The Washington Post | Published: September 4, 2019

MOSCOW — Russia and India agreed on Wednesday to work on military projects in what marks the second time in a week that Moscow has offered collaboration in the area of defense to a major regional power.

The proposal came during talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who are in Vladivostok in Russia’s Far East for an economic forum.

Modi’s visit comes exactly seven days after Putin hosted his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, at an aviation show in Moscow, during which the two discussed fighter jet cooperation, a move that further irritated NATO-member Turkey’s fraying relationship with the U.S.

Russia and India, historically allied countries who already build nuclear plants together and have similar plans for Kalashnikov automatic rifles, did not give details on the military cooperation, but said the collaboration would “include establishing joint development and production of military equipment, spare parts and components as well as improving the system of after sales services,” according to a joint statement.

India, like Turkey, already has agreed to purchase Russia’s S-400 missile systems, which the U.S. says bans any military from participating in its F-35 program, and is also subject to sanctions.

Wary of China, India and the U.S. have grown closer in recent years, but warming ties did not stop the White House from expressing its strong opposition to India’s purchase of the S-400 system. India has sought a sanctions waiver from the U.S. First deliveries are expected next year.

India also is keen to engage with Russia in the Arctic, the statement said, where Moscow is seeking partners as it expands its influence. Washington has accused Moscow of acting in a lawless manner in the northern territory, where it recently built new military bases.

The two sides also said they would continue their “legitimate” trade and economic cooperation with Iran, according to the statement.

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