External affairs Minister S. Jaishankar raised the point of India’s rights to buy defence arms from Russia and defended his country’s rights in this matter despite the pressure of sanctions from U.S. if they go against their will.
Mr. Jaishankar on his visit to Washington claimed that India has looked into the concerns related to U.S. but can not comment on the final outcome of the S-400 purchase from Russia.
“We have always maintained that what we buy — the sourcing of military equipment — is very much a sovereign right,” he shared his thoughts with the media on the eve of a meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
“We would not like any state to tell us what to buy or not to buy from Russia any more than we would like any state to tell us to buy or not buy from America,” he said.
“That freedom of choice is ours and we think it’s in everybody’s interest to recognise that,” he said.
India is a top importer of defence systems from Russia and only last year agreed to buy five S-400 systems for $5.2 billion, and according to reports from Russia, their delivery is on track.
Jaishankar shed a light on warm relatioms with U.S. but lamented Trump’s decision of applying sanctions on Iran.
The United States has asked various countries to stop buying oil from Iran lest face sanctions as U.S. tries to limit the Iranian influence in the Middle East.
In May, the Trump administration ended waivers for countries including India, which is a major importer of Iranian oil.
“We view Iran from the east, and from the east Iran has been a very stable, status quo power,” Mr. Jaishankar said.