New Delhi has sent Director General (Acquisition) Apurva Chandra of India's Ministry of Defence to Russia, where he is currently visiting various industrial facilities and holding talks with officials on future projects that have the potential to pave way for broader cooperation in the defence sector

New Delhi — Notwithstanding speculation in the global media that Russia's defence deals with several countries could be derailed by the United States implementing the Countering America's Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), India has hinted it remains undeterred by the threat.

An Indian delegation led by Apurva Chandra, who heads the acquisition wing of India's Ministry of Defence, reportedly toured the National Helicopter Building Centre in Moscow and watched a flight demonstration of the Ka-226T rotorcraft that India has on order, followed by a visit to the Yantar shipbuilding plant in Kaliningrad. The team also visited Almaz-Antey AD Group in St. Petersburg, and Aviastar-SP (Ulyanovsk-based Ilyushin Aviation Complex).

"The visit indicates the confidence on India's part that shows this kind of problem (sanction) can be overcome. The sanction threat is temporary hiccups and unlikely to have any long-term impact on Indo-Russia defence co-operation. Because it is not even in US interest," Amit Cowshish, former financial advisor to India's defence ministry told Sputnik.

During the visit to the Ulyanovsk-based Ilyushin Aviation Complex, the Indian defence team witnessed the detailed presentation of IL-76MD-90A and IL-78MK-90A aircraft. In January this year, the Indian Air Force started the procurement process to acquire mid-air refueling aircraft for refueling its varied fleet that ranges from aircraft of Western as well as Russian origin.

"Indian pilots have the first-hand experience in flying Ilyushins catering to operational and tactical needs of their military. This explains our meticulous assessment of Russia's modern military transports and tankers, as well as AWACS aircraft based on the platform," Apurva Chandra explained during his visit to the Ilyushin Aviation Complex. 

The Indian government is reportedly internally discussing the final nitty-gritty of the proposed deal for licensed local production of the upgraded Kalashnikov AK-103 7.62x51 mm assault rifles deal for the Indian Army (IA) to make up for its longstanding requirement for more than 768,000 rifles. India and Russia are also on the verge of signing a commercial contract on the S-400 air defence missile system and four stealth frigates. The visiting Indian team has also discussed the procurement of one more Chakra-class submarine from the Russian side — a proposed deal which has been under negotiation for last two years.

The CAATSA is designed primarily with Russia in mind, and specifically, countries that continue to use Russian military hardware and systems. The law imposes sanctions on individuals and countries that deal with Russia's intelligence and defence sectors. However, experts say that applying the legislation against India could put the US foreign policy and defence establishment in a bind with their expanding cooperation with India.