The Russian government on Wednesday said there will be no delays in the delivery of the S-400 air defence system to India, and that a payment mechanism is being worked out. “India would receive the systems as agreed upon in due time, without any delays. And, your (India’s) national security will be enhanced substantially,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters here.
India signed an agreement with Russia last October to procure a batch of missile systems at a cost of Rs 40,000 crore. However, there were apprehensions about the payment mechanism in the wake of US sanctions against Russia. “We (Russia) want to be immune to arbitrary unilateral measures undertaken by some country against a very legitimate form of international cooperation,” Ryabkov said.
Asked if President Vladimir Putin’s invitation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for an economic conclave in Vladivostok in Russia in September was indicative of a second term for Modi, he said Moscow is no mood to assess the political situation in India.
Ryabkov also said India’s role in Afghanistan is “indispensable” and complimented it for carrying out various development initiatives. His comments were in response to a question about US President Donald Trump mocking India’s role in Afghanistan.
On a question on resolution of the Taliban issue, he said it is for Afghanistan to decide. “When we did the Moscow process, it was difficult for the government in Kabul, but still they participated. I am not going to give any prediction or character on what will happen further, but it is undeniable that there is a need to have a dialogue with the Taliban, a need to understand better where they are.”
However, he noted: “We do not accept any attempt to present the posture or Russian position as being one-sided…”