Will India-Russia S-400 deal jeopardize India-US relations?

In 2015 the US congress had passed the law “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” (CAATSA) under which any country purchasing major defence equipment from Russia could be subjected to American sanctions. This has cast a shadow on the S-400 deal of Russia-India.

S-400 Deal

Under the S-400 deal agreement, India has agreed to purchase S-400 missile system at the cost of $5.4 billion. India is hoping that the US president would grant a waiver for India to proceed with the deal.

The S-400 missile system with superior air defence system will fill the gap in India’s particular needs like countering its main adversaries and neighbours, China and Pakistan’s growing airpower while dealing with a depleting stock of fighter aircraft.

Waiver for India?

The CAATSA empowers the US president to waive the application of [CAATSA] sanctions if the President determines that such a waiver is in the national security interest of the United States by certifying that a country is “cooperating with the United States Government on other matters that are critical to United States’ strategic national security interests”.

India is hoping to get a waiver for the S-400 deal for the following reasons:

  • A militarily stronger India is in the U.S.’s interests, and that India cannot completely drop its traditional dependence on Russian defence equipmentwithout being weakened.
  • President Donald Trump has misgivings about the CAATSA sanctions, which he perceives as an act meant to curtail his own powers to deal with Russia, and the other countries included in the act — Iran and North Korea.

Hence diplomatic circles in India hope that President Trump will grant India a waiver on the deal.

If India does not waiver for the S-400 deal it would face measures such as export sanctions, cancellation of loans from U.S. and international financial institutions, ban on investments and procurement, restrictions on foreign exchange and banking transactions, and a visa and travel ban on officials associated with any entity carrying out the sanctioned transactions. These sanctions will kick in when India takes delivery of the five S-400 systems.

India’s Stand

The External Affairs Minister has made it clear that India would not like any state to tell what to buy or not to buy from Russia.

India’s stand is acknowledging the fact that Russia was traditionally India’s biggest defence supplier, even though it is surpassed by the U.S. in recent times, India continues to attach great significance to the India-Russia relations and would not let the third country to jeopardize it.

Published: October 9, 2019 | Modified:December 1, 2019

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