‘No CAATSA pres­sure on Indo-rus­sia def deals’

Millennium Post - - Mp Nation - OUR COR­RE­SPON­DENT

NEW DELHI: US sanc­tions will not be an im­ped­i­ment to Indo-rus­sia de­fence deals, and New Delhi and Moscow could soon sign agree­ments on frigates and Kalash­nikov as­sault ri­fles, Rus­sian Am­bas­sador to In­dia Niko­lay Ku­da­shev said Thurs­day.

De­scrib­ing the re­cent­lyinked USD 5.4 bil­lion S-400 mis­sile de­fence sys­tem deal as the “largest con­tract” in the his­tory of Indo-rus­sia ties, he said it was one of the “speed­i­est” agree­ments to be signed be­tween the two coun­tries and there were no pro­tracted ne­go­ti­a­tions.

The im­ple­men­ta­tion of the con­tract, signed dur­ing Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin’s visit from Oc­to­ber 4-5, would start in 2020 and would last for five years, he said.

“In the com­ing months, you can ex­pect more deals. Talks are on, this is the nor­mal process. We hope that within twothree months... We could soon have a deal on frigates, it is very much on the agenda of the two sides, and we could soon have a deal on the Kalash­nikov as­sault ri­fles,” the en­voy told a select group of jour­nal­ists here.

“Yes,” Ku­da­shev said em­phat­i­cally, when asked whether it would be right to state that Coun­ter­ing Amer­ica’s Ad­ver­saries Through Sanc­tions Act or CAATSA would not put

En­voy: Will soon ink pacts on frigates, Kalash­nikovs

pres­sure on In­dia and Rus­sia for fur­ther de­fence deals.

His re­marks come just a day af­ter US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said In­dia would soon “find out” if the puni­tive CAATSA sanc­tions ap­ply to it over its USD 5 bil­lion deal with Rus­sia to pur­chase the S-400 Tri­umf air de­fence sys­tem.

The CAATSA is a US fed­eral law that im­posed sanc­tions on Iran, North Korea and Rus­sia. In Rus­sia’s case, the act pri­mar­ily deals with sanc­tions on Rus­sian in­ter­ests such as its oil and gas in­dus­try, de­fence and se­cu­rity sec­tor, and fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions.

Un­der the CAATSA sanc­tions, only Trump has the author­ity for a pres­i­den­tial waiver to In­dia on weapons deal with Rus­sia.

The S-400 deal was un­der­played by New Delhi, per­haps in a bid to keep its ro­bust ties with Wash­ing­ton un­blem­ished.

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi and Putin, who held their an­nual sum­mit, did not men­tion the S-400 deal in their re­spec­tive press state­ments. Gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials also did not pub­licly an­nounce the ink­ing of the deal, with only of­fi­cial sources con­firm­ing it and a joint state­ment mak­ing a men­tion of the deal.

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