India purchased Russia’s S-400 air defence system’s first deployment is on its way which might call for sanctions against India under US Law. Two US senators, Cornyn and Warner, have urged President Joe Biden to waive sanctions against India saying such a measure might endanger growing cooperation between the two nations.
In 2018, India signed a $5.5 billion deal with Russia for five of the surface-to-air missile systems for defence against Pakistan and China, with which it is locked in a standoff on their disputed border. The US has already imposed sanctions on Turkey for buying the same equipment last year.
Now, the time has come for the proposed transfer of the first set of missile batteries is expected to begin deployment later this year which has caused tension with America. In 2017, the USA passed a law, Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), under which any country engaged with Russia’s defence and intelligence sectors could face sanctions.
On Tuesday, Democrat Senator Mark Warner and Republican Senator John Cornyn who are co-chairs of a Senate India Caucus wrote to Biden calling for a waiver based on broader cooperation and national security.
They wrote that they were concerned about the transfer of the Russian systems would trigger sanctions against India under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which was enacted to hold Russia accountable for interfering in the US elections, cyber hacking and bullying Ukraine.
“We believe there is a national security imperative to waiving sanctions,” the senators said in their letter which they issued in a press release.
They wrote that they share the administration’s concerns about Russia but they warned them of the damage to cooperation with India if sanctions were imposed.
They believe that the application of CAATSA sanctions could have a deleterious effect on a strategic partnership with India, while, not achieving the intended purpose of deterring Russian arms sales.
India has already been cutting back on purchases of military equipment from Russia, which for years was its main source, with a 53 per cent drop in Russian arms exports to India from the past five years compared with the previous five-year period.
India’s defence deals with the US has been increasing with sales at $3.4 billion in the 2020 financial year the senators pointed out.
“Imposing sanctions at this time could derail deepening cooperation with India across all aspects of our bilateral relationship – from vaccines to defence cooperation, from energy strategy to technology sharing.”