Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh left for a three-day visit to Russia this week to participate in the Victory Day parade on 24 June, 2020.
Rajnath’s visit was finalized in consultation with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi amid New Delhi’s border tensions with China.
India is considering the option of urging Russia to ramp up the delivery of S-400 air defense missile systems. It’s believed that Moscow had planned to delay delivery until December 2021 due to the ongoing Corona-virus pandemic.
The speeding up the delivery of the $5.4-billion systems, for which India completed a large payment last year, is expected to be discussed during Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh’s slated bilateral meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu.
While leaving for Moscow to participate in the Victory Day parade on 24 June, the Indian Defense Minister tweeted that his visit is an opportunity to further deepen the India-Russia defense and strategic partnership.
The Indian government’s decision to send the defense minister to participate in Moscow’s 75th Victory Day parade comes in the wake of India’s planned purchase of 33 fighter jets.
This transaction includes buying 12 Su-30MKI and 21 MiG-29, from Russia under an emergency order and amid border clashes between India and China in the Ladakh region in the far north of the country.
India is also considering the event as an opportunity to engage with Russia during this critical juncture because Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe is also likely to be present at the event.
Russia and China share strong defense ties and adding to India’s concern, Beijing has already acquired its own S-400 systems from Moscow.
Rajanth is also scheduled to meet Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov, who also handles military and aerospace affairs.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point Military News 2020.