India Wants to Buy Russian S-400 System Despite Threat of U.S. Sanctions

India and Russia have started to move forward on a deal to supply New Delhi with the powerful S-400 air and missile defense system. However, in case the deal goes through, India might come under American sanctions because of the new Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act that was recently signed into law, The Hindustan Times reports.

In a carefully worded statement to Hindustan Times, the U.S. State Department did not directly say if the purchase of the weapon system by India was sanctionable. Refusing to confirm or deny discussions with Washington on this issue, an Indian official in New Delhi said, “India’s relations with third countries (such as Russia) were not a part of discussions with the U.S. and our defense requirements were determined by us only, independent of pressures and outside influence.”

The possible sanctions could ruin any hope of solidifying a new strategic partnership with India as part of Washington’s efforts to counterbalance a rising China, the report said.

Last week, the deputy head of Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation Vladimir Drozhzhov told reporters at the ArmHiTec exhibition that Moscow hoped to sign a deal with India this year. “I hope so,” Drozhzhov said, according to TASS news agency.

Russia and India have long had a close partnership in many areas, including military cooperation. Moscow supplies India with more than 60 percent of its military hardware.

Indian Air Force officials earlier informed the country’s parliament it was necessary to purchase Russian anti-aircraft missile systems, emphasizing that these systems will enable India to successfully repel any possible threats from Pakistan or China, according to the news site.

The S-400 Triumph is a Russian long-and mid-range anti-aircraft missile system designed to hit attack and reconnaissance aircraft (including stealth planes) and any other air targets under conditions of intensive enemy fire and electronic countermeasures. As of January 2018, contracts for S-400 deliveries were inked with China and Turkey, while negotiations to sell the systems to Saudi Arabia are underway.

The deal with Turkey drew a lot of attention since it is the NATO member’s first such purchase from a non-NATO country. The United States has threatened Turkey with sanctions over the purchase.