Russian S-400 Missile Deal: No Decision Yet On India Waiver, Says US | India News

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States has yet to make a decision on a possible waiver of Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions (CAATSA) over the purchase of the S-400 missile defense system from Russia the Biden administration said on Tuesday.
The State Department comments come a week after India began receiving supplies of Russia’s S-400 missile defense system and amid calls from leading Republican and Democratic lawmakers not to impose CAATSA sanctions to India.
Saying he values ​​his “strategic partnership” with India, a State Department official kept the Biden administration in suspense on the issue by telling reporters that CAATSA does not have a blanket waiver provision. or country specific.
“We would need to refer you to the Indian government for any comments on potential deliveries of the S-400 system. But we have been clear about the system, not only in the Indian context but more broadly as well, that we have urged all of our allies, all of our partners to forgo transactions with Russia that could risk triggering sanctions under it. of such – called CAATSA, the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. We have not made a decision on a possible waiver for Indian arms transactions with Russia, ”State Department spokesman Ned Price said.
“However, CAATSA does not have a general or country specific waiver provision. We also know that our defense relationship with India has grown and deepened considerably in recent years. It is deep and commensurate with the broad and deep relationship we have with India and its status as a major defense partner, ”he said.
“We expect this strong momentum in our defense relationship to continue. We certainly appreciate our strategic partnership with India. As you know, we had the opportunity to travel to India not so long ago. In August, I believe, we had several meetings with Foreign Minister Jaishankar. We have discussed this concern directly, including with the highest levels of the Indian government, ”Price said in response to a question.
Several members of the US Congress, he said, have shown keen interest in the issue.
“It is not for us to talk to systems that the Indian government may or may not have received. It is up to us to talk about the applicable laws and the requirements under those laws. Obviously, members of Congress are also deeply interested in this. So this is an ongoing conversation with our Indian partners, ”said Price.
“This is a conversation that takes place in the context of a defense relationship close to our hearts, which is important to both the United States and India, including in the context of an Indo- Free and open Pacific. And so, I suspect these conversations will continue, ”he said.
Price said the 2 + 2 talks will be held in Washington DC soon.
“We are committed to 2 + 2, again, because we have an important relationship with India, including its status as a major defense partner. But I can assure you that there will be an opportunity for a 2 + 2 soon, ”he said.
Last month, U.S. Senators and Indian Caucus Co-Chairs Mark Warner and John Cornyn sent a letter to President Joe Biden encouraging him to lift CAATSA sanctions against India for purchasing military weapons from Russia.
“Although India has taken important steps to reduce its purchases of Russian military equipment, it has long bought arms from the Soviet Union and then from Russia. In 2018, India officially agreed to purchase Russian S-400 Triumf air defense systems after signing an initial agreement with Russia two years earlier, ”they said.
“We are concerned that the upcoming transfer of these systems could trigger sanctions under America’s Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which was enacted to hold Russia accountable for its behavior. malicious, ”they wrote.
“As such, we strongly encourage you to grant CAATSA a waiver to India for its planned purchase of the S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile system. In cases where the granting of a waiver would advance the national security interests of the United States, this waiver authorization, as enshrined in law by Congress, grants the President additional discretion in the application of sanctions ”, wrote the two senators.

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