Just when India-U.S. seems to fortify its joint A&D alliance, American lawmakers and experts warned imposition of sanctions on India under a newly-enacted law, if it buys the S-400 air defence missile system from Russia could be disastrous for the Indo-US ties.
Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which was signed into law in August 2017 and went into effect in January this year, mandates the Trump administration to punish entities engaging in significant transaction with the defence or intelligence sectors of Russia.
At an event on the Capitol Hill, experts and lawmakers warned that any imposition of sanctions on India, which is now a major defence partner could be disastrous for the bilateral relationship and as such there, is an urgent need to prevent that from happening.
“I do think it (CAATSA) is a serious issue that needs to be dealt. There needs to be a dialogue between the US and India. Our goal is not to sanction India,” Congressman Joe Crowley, House Democratic Caucus Chairman, said at the US-India Friendship event.
“But given the kind of destabilising activities Russia has been doing across the world in particular against democracies, it is important to slap sanctions against Russia,” he said.
“But when it comes to those third-party agreements I think there has to be dialogue between the US and India; understanding the needs that India has as a nation for self-defence as well that has to be taken into consideration,” Crowley said in response to a question.
India is currently in an advance stage of negotiations with Russia for five S-400 systems worth an estimate USD 4.5 billion.
The S-400 Triumf long-range air defence missile system has the capability to destroy incoming hostile aircraft, missiles and even drones at ranges of up to 400 km. The S-400 missile system can fire three types of missiles and simultaneously engage 36 targets, thereby creating a layered defence.