Washington [US] : Nisha Biswal, president of the US-India Business Council (USIBC) on Friday (local time) said India’s procurement of S-400 missile systems from Russia presents some challenges between Washington and New Delhi, which need to be worked out by both governments, but not the use of sanctions. “I understand the more awaiting factors of CAATSA and the concern that India’s procurement of the S-400 presence for the American defence establishment because as US India becomes closer defence partners. S-400 plays some challenges, those are the challenges that I think need to be worked through by both governments but not the use of sanctions,” she said.
The CAATSA is a United States federal law that imposed sanctions on Iran, North Korea, and Russia. CAATSA authorises the US administration to impose sanctions on countries that purchase major defence hardware from Russia in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and its alleged meddling in the 2016 US presidential elections.
India had signed a USD 5.43-billion deal with Russia for the purchase of five S-400 surface to air missile systems during the 19th India-Russia Annual Bilateral Summit in New Delhi in October 2019, for long-term security needs.
Washington had indicated that the Russian S-400 systems may trigger CAATSA sanctions.
Biswal’s remarks come ahead of the two-day visit of US Trade Representative Katherine Tai to India, starting from November 22.
Speaking further, she said, “I don’t think that sanction is the right tool in a relationship that is as deep and strong as India US relationship, the sanctions left extreme concern about Russia. In about some of the ways in which the Russian government has been seeking to impact and undermine US interest and particularly interfere in US politics and policies.”
Amid calls from US senators to waive sanctions against India, a state department spokesperson clarified that the CAATSA does not have a blanket or country-specific waiver provision.
“We urge all of our allies and partners to forgo transactions with Russia that risk triggering sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). We have not made a determination on a potential waiver with respect to Indian arms transactions with Russia. CAATSA does not have a blanket or country-specific waiver provision,” the spokesperson said.
“The US-India defence partnership has expanded significantly in recent years, commensurate with India’s status as a major defence partner. We expect this strong momentum in our defence partnership to continue. We value our strategic partnership with India,” the spokesperson added.