After India-Russia S-400 missile deal, US says it cannot prejudge any sanctions decisions

New Delhi: Reacting to the India-Russia military agreement on the purchase of S -400 Triumph air defence missile systems, the United States on Friday said that it cannot prejudge any sanctions decisions and clarified that CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) is not intended to impose damage to the military capabilities of its allies or partners. “The intent of our implementation of CAATSA is to impose costs on Russia for its malign behaviour, including by stopping the flow of money to Russia’s defence sector.  CAATSA is not intended to impose damage to the military capabilities of our allies or partners,” said Jinnie Lee, Spokesperson of the US Embassy in New Delhi. “The waiver authority is not for a blanket waiver.  It is transaction-specific.

There are strict criteria for considering a waiver.  Waivers of CAATSA section 231 will be considered on a transaction-by-transaction basis. We cannot prejudge any sanctions decisions,” Lee added. The Triumph missile deal comes amid US threat of sanctioning countries under CAATSA for their defence purchases with Russia. US had recently sanctioned China’s Equipment Development Department (EDD) for purchasing Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets and the same S-400 missiles that India is purchasing, triggering a diplomatic confrontation between China and the US.

However, India is hoping to get a waiver from the US on the grounds that it needs the missiles for its self defence keeping in view the fragile security situation in the South Asian region. Besides, India has cited its long standing Defence partnership with Russia and that the decision for S-400 purchase was taken several months before CAATSA was enacted.  National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval had conveyed India’s concerns to the US prior to their 2+2 Dialogue besides diplomatic efforts were made to engage with the US lawmakers.

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