Two powerful US Senators have urged President Joe Biden to waive the impending sanctions against India for buying S-400 surface-to-air missile defence systems from Russia as it would advance American security interests (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@ur_cruise)
Two powerful US Senators have urged President Joe Biden to waive the impending sanctions against India for buying S-400 surface-to-air missile defence systems from Russia as it would advance American security interests.
Senators Mark Warner (Democrat) and John Cornyn (Republican) said that while they shared the administration's concern regarding the purchase and the continued Indian integration of Russian equipment, such transactions between New Delhi and Moscow were declining.
"As such, we strongly encourage you to grant a CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) waiver to India for its planned purchase of the S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile system. In cases where granting a waiver would advance the national security interests of the U.S., this waiver authority, as written into the law by Congress, allows the President additional discretion in applying sanctions," the India Caucus Co-Chairs have written in their letter.
India signed a USD 5.43-billion deal with Russia for the purchase of five S-400 surface to air missile systems in October, 2019.
Washington had indicated that the Russian S-400 systems may trigger action under the provisions of CAATSA.
"While India has taken significant steps to reduce its purchases of Russian military equipment, it has a long history of purchasing arms from the Soviet Union, and later Russia. In 2018, India formally agreed to purchase Russian S-400 Triumf air-defence systems after having signed an initial agreement with Russia two years prior. We are concerned that the upcoming transfer of these systems will trigger sanctions under the CAATSA, which was enacted to hold Russia accountable for its malign behaviour," the Senators wrote.
"We share your concerns regarding the purchase and the continued Indian integration of Russian equipment, even with these declining sales. We would encourage your administration to continue reinforcing this concern to Indian officials, and engaging with them constructively to continue supporting alternatives to their purchasing Russian equipment," the senators added, the letter added.
Warner is Chairman of the Senate Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and Cornyn Senate Minority Whip for the GOP. Both are co-chairs of the Senate India caucus, the only country specific caucus in the US Senate.