GOP Senator urges Biden admin to clear India on Russian purchase of defense system

Washington: 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  (CAATSA) is a tough U.S. law which authorizes 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 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 affect the QUAD (Japan, India, Australia and the United States)’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.

CAATSA 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. sanctions.

The S-400 is known as Russia’s most advanced long-range surface-to-air missile defence system.

“By invoking the waiver authority and allowing India’s purchase of Russian weaponry, the Biden administration can make clear that China is the primary geostrategic threat to the US,” Mr. Young, a Senator from Indiana, said.

Mr. Young said that in recent weeks, the Democratic chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Senator Bob Menendez has called for India to be threatened with sanctions under Section 231 of the CAATSA if it moves forward with the purchase of the Russian missile system.

Image courtesy of (Official photo)

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