Rep. Ro Khanna backs CAASTA waiver to India

Washington, DC: Indian American Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), Congressional India Caucus Vice Chair and Member of the House Armed Services Committee introduced a bipartisan amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act with Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), Co-Chair of the India Caucus and Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) to strengthen the U.S.-India defense partnership in response to increasing threats in the Indo-Pacific region. 

“As China escalates its aggression along the Indian-Chinese border, the oldest democracy in the world must stand with the largest democracy world to send an unequivocal signal that sovereignty and international law must be respected,” said Rep Khanna. “I urge Congress to take up my provision to strengthen the U.S.-India defense partnership, and I urge the Administration to issue a CAASTA waiver for India to prevent any weakening of that important partnership. Failing to do so will only push India closer towards Russia given their security needs.” 

“Given the uptick in Chinese aggression in India’s Ladakh region and rising regional threats, it’s imperative that we continue to strengthen America’s defense and security relationship with India,” said Rep. Sherman. “India is a natural American partner with which we share a unique bond based on common democratic values, and this amendment serves as an opportunity to further build on the U.S.-India strategic partnership to the benefit of both nations. I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass this vital amendment through the House.” 

“It is in the United States’ interest to partner with India, a country with which we share a strong bond and democratic values,” said Rep. Schweikert. “This amendment reaffirms our current defense partnership with India while ensuring a strong relationship between our two great nations will continue for years to come. We cannot allow adversaries like Russia and China to take advantage of our lack of action or bureaucratic hurdles. I look forward to seeing this important, timely, and bipartisan amendment makes its way through the House.” 

The measure also urges the Biden administration to use the authority Congress has provided to it to issue a waiver to ensure that India won’t be sanctioned under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, a law that imposes secondary sanctions on countries purchasing arms from Russia. While the United States should take additional action to help India accelerate its transition from Russian arms, the application of CAATSA sanctions in the current threat environment that India faces could have a devastating impact on the U.S.-Indian defense partnership.  

A CAASTA waiver of these sanctions is in the best interests of the United States and the United States-India defense partnership to deter aggressors in light of Russia and China’s close partnership. 

This amendment was introduced for House floor consideration in the FY23 National Defense Authorization Act. Next week, the House Rules Committee will decide on whether the amendment is voted on the House floor during the FY23 NDAA debate. 

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