MOSCOW — Russia and India agreed Wednesday to work on military projects, in what marks the second time in a week that Moscow has offered collaboration in the area of defense to a major regional power.
The commitment was made during talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who are in Vladivostok in Russia’s Far East for an economic forum.
Modi’s visit comes seven days after Putin hosted his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, at an aviation show in Moscow, during which the two discussed fighter jet cooperation, a move that further strained NATO-member Turkey’s tense relationship with the United States.
Russia and India, historical allies that build nuclear plants together and have similar plans for Kalashnikov automatic rifles, did not give details about the military cooperation but said the collaboration would “include establishing joint development and production of military equipment, spare parts and components as well as improving the system of after sales services,” according to a joint statement.
India, like Turkey, has agreed to buy Russia’s S-400 missile system. Doing so subjects India to U.S. sanctions and prohibits its military from participating in the United States’ F-35 fighter jet program. India has sought a sanctions waiver from the United States.
Wary of China, India and the United States have grown closer in recent years, but warming relations did not stop the White House from expressing its strong opposition to India’s purchase of the S-400 system. First deliveries are expected next year.
India is also eager to engage with Russia in the Arctic, the joint statement said, where Moscow is seeking partners as it expands its influence. Washington has accused Moscow of acting in a lawless manner in the northern polar region, where it recently built new military bases.
India and Russia also said they would continue their “legitimate” trade and economic cooperation with Iran, according to the statement.