(Juhi Aishwary, Journalist): A top US diplomat has said that there is still a possibility of US sanctions on India due to the purchase of a multi-billion dollar S-400 missile system from Russia. At the same time, he stressed that India must make a strategic commitment to technologies and platforms. India signed a five billion dollar deal with Russia to buy five units of the S-400 air defense missile system in October 2018, despite US warnings. The US had warned that if India goes ahead with the deal, it may face US sanctions under the ‘Counting America’s Advocates through Sanctions Act (CAATSA)’.
India made the first payment of nearly $ 800 million to Russia for the missile system last year. The S-400 is Russia’s most modern missile defense system for long-range surface-to-air combat. Outgoing Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Alice Wells, who is in charge of South and Central Asia affairs, told a think tank in Washington DC on Wednesday (May 20), “CAATSA remains a policy priority for Parliament where it will be implemented.” You have seen concerns about the economic benefits to Russia from strong demand and military sales that it can use it to further undermine the sovereignty of neighboring countries. “
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CAATS is a stringent law and under it, the US has imposed restrictions on Russia. Under this law, punitive action can also be taken against those countries which buy defense goods from Russia. On a question by Richard Verma, former US ambassador to India, Wales said, “CAATSA is still an issue, it is not removed from consideration. Instead of looking at it from a Russian angle, I think the more important discussion should be that now As India is moving towards adopting higher-level technological systems, it has really become a question of what system India wants to operate under. “
In an online discussion by the Atlantic Council, he said, “How do they want their systems to communicate with each other?” At a particular point, India has to make a commitment to technologies and platforms in a way and we understand that we have the best technologies and platforms. ”At the same time, Wales also referred to the growing defense relationship between India and the US.”We have made a lot of progress in our defense business and after the President (Donald Trump’s) visit; the bilateral trade is now crossing $ 20 billion. I think that India will be armed unmanned by bringing a coordinated policy change.” The credit for offering the most modern technologies such as air vehicles (UAVs) goes to this (trump) government. “
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He hoped that the defense trade between the two countries would increase despite the budgetary challenges caused by the Covid-19. Wells said the US sees India as a global force and understands the global interests that it wants to protect in a diplomatic, political, economic, and military manner. He said that the personal relationship between President Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is clear and this has certainly helped in enhancing the relationship between the two countries.