Every time there are India-US talks, the topic that raises its ugly head is the Indian decision to procure the S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems from Russia and possible American sanctions.
A standard question, raised to US representatives, in every press conference, following any bilateral meeting, is whether there would be sanctions on India. The standard reply, thus far, has been that the systems have yet to enter India and that as per CAATSA (Countering American Adversaries Through Sanctions Act), the US president has the power to grant a waiver. This implies that the sword of CAATSA still hangs.
CAATSA was signed into law in 2017 aimed at sanctioning Russia over its actions in Ukraine and Syria. It is basically a battle between the US and Russia, with other nations being drawn in as pawns. India is among them. Indian representatives have always stated that the Indo-Russian deal for the S-400 was signed in 2016, whereas CAATSA was introduced in 2017. Hence, the deal predates CAATSA.
They further add that India has an independent foreign and security policy, and the nation is at liberty to choose weapon platforms needed and the country from which it would import. India had assessed the S-400 to be the best in its class, even more effective than US systems on offer, and therefore considered it suitable for its national needs.
Bending to US demands would have been detrimental to India’s interest, despite the two nations sharing a close bond.