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US ‘very concerned’ as India looks to purchase Russian missile system

The United States said it was “very concerned” over Indian plans to purchase a Russiann missile defence system as India’s defence minister visited Moscow this week.

The purchase of five S-400 Triumf systems, costing an estimated $6 billion, would violate American sanctions against Russia.

"We understand India's concern about this and we are very concerned as well. These sanctions are intended to target Russia - not India," said Joe Felter, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for South and Southeast Asia. "We totally appreciate Indians concerns. It was raised in discussions during senior level meetings last month. We also are very concerned because we very much hope to maintain the momentum and the trajectory of this relationship. We want to deepen our cooperation and not to reduce it”. 

The potential for India being granted an exemption from the sanctions for the purchase remains open, according to the New York Times.

“We are engaging with a range of countries to avert future defense acquisitions, and the secretary of state will take appropriate action when and if we determine sanctionable activity has occurred,” a spokeswoman from the State Department told them.

"We are committed to building our relationship and keeping it on the current trajectory. We appreciate that that defence trade is a key activity to build this partnership. We will continue to work diligently to maintain the positive trajectory we are on with this relationship and ideally deepen and expand our defence trade," Felter added.

See more from the Economic Times here and the New York Times here.