Defence

Top Republican Senator urges Biden admin to give CAATSA waiver to India

By The Hindu

A top Republican Senator has urged the Biden administration to give CAATSA waiver to India, saying that any plan to impose sanctions on New Delhi for buying Russian S-400 missile defence system would undermine its relationship with the U.S. and also affect the QUAD’s ability to counter China.

Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act or CAATSA is a tough U.S. law which authorises the administration to impose sanctions on countries that purchase major defence hardware from Russia.

Senator Todd Young, a key member of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, wrote in the prestigious Foreign Policy magazine that if the Joe Biden administration imposes sanctions on India, it would not deter New Delhi’s purchase of the S-400 missile system from Russia, but would weaken two strategic fronts at a critical time — undermine Washington’s relationship with India and also affect the QUAD’s ability to counter China.

“Moreover, Russia could take advantage of the sanctions to reclaim its role as India’s military partner of choice. Paradoxically then, sanctioning New Delhi over its Russian-made defence system would actually prove to be a geostrategic victory for Moscow,” Mr. Young wrote.

Alternatively, he urged the Biden Administration to give CAATSA waiver to India. The waiver is intended at preventing U.S. sanctions on countries like India.

In October 2018, India signed a $5 billion deal with Russia to buy five units of the S-400 air defence missile systems, notwithstanding warnings from the then Trump administration that going ahead with the contract may invite U.S. sanction.

In 2019, India made the first tranche of payment of around $800 million to Russia for the missile systems.

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