Thursday, June 30, 2022

US Urges India to Avoid Transactions for Russian Weapons Systems. 

Washington, DC – The US State Department says it continues to urge all countries, including India, to avoid major new transactions for Russian weapons systems. 

In December last year, Russia started delivering its long-range S-400 ground-to-air missile defense system to India and was hoping to sell more of it to them. 

In response to a question from GSV on whether the US was now considering sanctions against India under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), a State Department spokesperson said, “We have not yet made a determination under CAATSA with respect to this transaction. We continue to urge all countries, including India, to avoid major new transactions for Russian weapons systems.”  

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed an intergovernmental agreement on the sale of the S-400 systems during a bilateral summit in October 2016 in the western Indian state of Goa. Modi negotiated and sealed the $5 billion S-400 air defense system deal in October 2018 after wide-ranging talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The US imposed sanctions on Turkey over its purchase of the S-400 system on December 14, 2020. During a visit to India in March 2021, Defense Secretary Austin urged US allies and partners to move away from Russian equipment and “avoid any kind of acquisitions that would trigger sanctions on our behalf.” 

In an interview with the Times of India, Secretary of State Blinken, during his trip to India in July 2021, said that the US had shared its concerns with India over the S-400 deal and would see how things evolve.

In October last year, Senators John Cornyn and Mark Warner wrote a letter to President Biden, urging him to waive CAATSA sanctions against India.

India has a longstanding relationship with Russia in the defense sector. Today India abstained from voting on a UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Eleven out of 15 UNSC members voted for the resolution, which “deplores in the strongest terms” the country’s “aggression” against Ukraine and demands the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops. Russia vetoed the motion, and China and the UAE abstained from voting.

India, a major defense partner to the US, has yet to condemn Russia’s actions. State Department Spokesperson Ned Price, responding to a question from a journalist, said that the US has a “broad strategic partnership with India.” Referring to a bilateral discussion with India’s Minister for External Affairs S. Jaishankar, in Australia, Price said that the US and India believe that nations that have clout or influence with Russia need to use that to protect the rules-based international order. 

Price said that the US and India have shared interests and values, and India’s relationship with Russia is distinct from the relationship that the US has with Russia. “What we have asked of every country around the world is that they use that leverage to good effect to uphold those norms, those rules that have been at the center, again, of unprecedented levels over the past 70 years of security, stability, and prosperity.”

Author profile
Poonam Sharma

Poonam is a multi-media journalist, and Founder and Editor of Global Strat View. She was the Managing Editor of India America Today (IAT) for seven years, and launched its print edition in 2019 with IAT's Founder and Editor, the late Tejinder Singh.

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