Carrying forward the Sochi spirit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday had a one-on-one dinner meeting with visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin, accompanied only by interpreters.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in India for a two-day visit during which the two countries are expected to sign a $5 billion deal for Russian S-400 missile systems despite the spectre of USA sanctions.
"Putin's visit to India will be watched closely not just by Washington, but probably also by Beijing". It is known as Russia's most advanced long-range surface-to-air missile defence system.
Several U.S. officials have called the S-400, which several U.S. allies too are in the process of acquiring, a "significant transaction". The Modi government hopes the Trump administration will not disrupt burgeoning defence ties with the world's biggest arm importer by levying sanctions the U.S. Congress has sought.
The sophisticated missile system will not be the only deal on the table.
Nevertheless, an amendment to the act allows Trump to grant waivers on a case-by-case basis.
The U.S. did not spare China from sanctions last month, when it purchased Russian fighter jets and surface-to-air missile equipment.
"It's about time we. showed that we are not going to be pushed around by Washington". "Negotiation on S-400 air defence systems has been on for a long while and it is at a stage where it can be finalised", Sitharaman said last week. Underlining that friendship between India and Russian Federation has stood the test of time, and that the ties would continue to scale new heights, Modi suggested that the seeds of the "strategic partnership" sown by former prime minister AB Vajpayee and President Putin have now grown into a "special privileged strategic partnership".
These apart, India and Russian Federation aren't expecting an agreement on some planned deals due to apparent funds constraint in the defence ministry.
Moscow is also pushing for India's entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group of countries controlling access to nuclear technology.
India wants to procure the long-range missile systems to tighten its air defence mechanism, particularly along the almost 4,000-kilometre-long Sino-India border. After all, sanctions won't be as easy on India as it was last month when financial sanctions were imposed on China for buying S-400 as well as Su-35 fighter jets from Russian Federation. They are also likely to discuss certain issues of crucial importance, especially Russia's proximity to Pakistan.
The law is created to punish Putin for the 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, involvement in the Syrian civil war and meddling in the 2016 USA presidential election.
"The two leaders share lot of chemistry, that was evident when Putin - impromptu - chose to come to the Sochi airport to see off Modi", a source said.