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Well aware why India is buying S-400 air defence systems, says US

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New Delhi, June 25: Maintaining that India's decision to buy S-400 air defence systems from Russia is "a matter of concern", the United States on Tuesday said that New Delhi and Moscow have a long-standing relation that "cannot be wished away".

Well aware why India is buying S-400 air defence systems, says US

The US reaction on the contentious deal came hours before US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's arrival in India. The Trump administration had earlier warned that India's decision to buy the long-range S-400 missile defense system from Russia will have "serious implications" on defence ties.

Russian S-400 missile deal may seriously affect Indo-US ties: Report

"S-400 is an issue, a matter of concern for US, they articulated. India has a long-standing relation with Russia that cannot be wished away. S-400 has been in discussion for almost a decade, US is well aware why India is buying, India has explained the rationale," ANI reported while quoting Diplomatic Sources.

"US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's talks with EAM, S Jaishankar will be more about getting to know each other. It's the first engagement with the new government, there is no structured dialogue, many issues can come up. No MoUs are expected to be signed.

India and Russia signed a USD 5 billion S-400 air defence system deal in October last year after wide-ranging talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Pompeo will be visiting India from June 25 to June 27. His visit comes ahead of a meeting between US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan on June 28-29.

Pompeo's India visit aimed at deepening bilateral relations: US official

India signed the S-400 missile deal with sword of US sanctions hanging over it. India had made it very clear then that sanctions or no-sanctions, India-Russia defence ties would not be effected. Even then Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had made this stand clear to the US in '2+2' dialogue.

Trump administration had last year issued veiled threats of imposing sanctions under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). But no such sanctions were imposed.

India wants to maintain its strong military ties with Russia, but at the same time does not want to sour relations with the US.

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