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Putin in India: Will US make an exception and why Pakistan would be worried

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New Delhi, Oct 5: Russian President Vladimir Putin is in India on a two day visit. The focus would be the inking of the 5 billion US dollar deal to procure Moscow's most advance air defence system, the S-400 Triumf.

The events are being closely watched by all especially the United States, which has threatened to impose sanctions against those countries buying Russian equipment.

Putin in India: Will US make an exception and why Pakistan would be worried

What impact will this visit by Putin have on Indo-US ties. Will the US go ahead and impose sanctions. To discuss this further, OneIndia has on board with it Deputy Director of the Asia Programme and South Asia senior associate, The Wilson Centre, Michael Kugelman.

Not a game changer:

Kugelman feels that the visit by Putin is not a game changer, but marks an important milestone. The deals emerging from the visit will cement and amplify the continued strength of the India-Russia relations even as the US-India relations continues to grow as the US-Russia relationship continues to plummet.

Also Read | India may try to invoke legacy issue while dealing with Russia to avoid sanctions

Impact on Indo-US ties:

Kugelam said that the visit itself will not affect US-India ties in a big way. Washington understands that New Delhi is a longstanding friend of Moscow's and that there will naturally be plenty of high-level exchanges between the two.

However, the headliner deal from the visit, the S400 package, will pose a big test for US-India relations. If Washington shrugs off the deal and just lets it go, and doesn't punish New Delhi, then that will be an indication that the US is willing to make exceptions for its best friends, he says.

Also Read | Why US is against India-Russia deal on S-400 Triumf missile system

But if Washington vows to sanction New Delhi, then the US commitment to US-India partnership and its genuine willingness to take this partnership to a new level could understandably come into question in New Delhi, Kugelam adds.

Impact on China and Pakistan:

Given the importance that the US places in US-India ties, I can't imagine that the White House, despite its unpredictability and volatility, would take the drastic step of punishing India. A waiver could be in the offing, Kugelam says.

Also Read | While India, Russia close in on defence deal, West is rattled over Moscow's missiles

He further adds that the S400 deal won't go down well at all in Islamabad or Beijing. For India's two main rivals, this is an indication of New Delhi's ability to substantively strength its defense capacities.

That said, at the end of the day, Beijing won't be overly bothered, given that its military capacities are considerably superior to India's. However, for Islamabad, which knows full well that it can't come close to matching India's defense capacities, the concern will be deeper.

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