WORLD

‘No guar­an­tees for a spe­cial waiver if In­dia buys new weapons from Rus­sia’

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Pen­tagon rules out an au­to­matic waiver for In­dia from the puni­tive US sanc­tions over its weapons pur­chase from Rus­sia

Washington: The Pen­tagon has ruled out an au­to­matic waiver for In­dia from the puni­tive US sanc­tions over its weapons pur­chase from Rus­sia, say­ing Washington has con­cerns over the nearly $5 bil­lion mis­sile de­fence sys­tem deal, ahead of the first 2+2 di­a­logue in New Delhi next week.

The Coun­ter­ing Amer­ica’s Ad­ver­saries Through Sanc­tions Act (CAATSA) waiver is in­tended at pre­vent­ing US sanc­tions on coun­tries like In­dia.

In­dia is plan­ning to buy five S-400 Tri­umf mis­sile air de­fence sys­tems from Rus­sia for around $4.5 bil­lion.

US De­fence Sec­re­tary Jim Mat­tis has pub­licly been a strong pro­po­nent of grant­ing In­dia waivers from sanc­tions.

Ran­dall G Schriver, As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary of De­fence for Asian and Pa­cific Se­cu­rity Af­fairs, said: “I can’t sit here and tell you to­day that a (CAATSA) waiver would nec­es­sar­ily be used. It would be a topic dis­cussed at the high­est level of our gov­ern­ment and they would make some de­ter­mi­na­tion”.

“We un­der­stand the his­tor­i­cal In­dia-Rus­sia re­la­tion­ship. We want to have a con­ver­sa­tion with In­dia not on legacy, but on fu­ture. On CAATSA, Mat­tis did plea for an ex­cep­tion for In­dia, but I can’t guar­an­tee a waiver will be used for fu­ture pur­chases.

“Rus­sia is not a coun­try you want to have a strate­gic part­ner­ship,” Schriver told a Washington au­di­ence at the Carnegie En­dow­ment For In­ter­na­tional Peace yes­ter­day.

The CAATSA was the re­sult of Rus­sian be­hav­iour, not In­dian, Schriver said as he dis­cussed De­fence Sec­re­tary James Mat­tis’ pri­or­i­ties for the up­com­ing 2+2 In­dia

We un­der­stand the his­tor­i­cal In­dia-Rus­sia re­la­tion­ship. We want to have a con­ver­sa­tion not on legacy, but on fu­ture Ran­dall G Schriver, As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary of De­fence for Asian and Pa­cific Se­cu­rity Af­fairs

meet­ing in New Delhi.

“The Congress felt the need to take ac­tion and to demon­strate not only in words and in spirit, why we think this regime’s ac­tiv­i­ties are so trou­ble­some, but to ac­tu­ally take con­crete ac­tion to try to have a con­se­quence and pun­ish­ment for this be­hav­iour.

“I think most peo­ple ac­knowl­edge it (CAATSA) was a flawed leg­is­la­tion for the rea­sons that some of our part­ners, friends and al­lies them­selves might end up pay­ing a price that was not in­tended. So Congress was very good at work­ing with us to cre­ate this waiver op­por­tu­nity,” he said.

“Now we have a lit­tle more flex­i­bil­ity for the Sec­re­tary of State, the Pres­i­dent to make those de­ter­mi­na­tions,” Schriver said, rul­ing out giv­ing a guar­an­tee that no sanc­tions would be im­posed on In­dia.

“I can­not sit here to­day and tell you if In­dia buys X, then the waiver will be used or it won’t be used. It would be some weigh­ing of the con­cerns,” the Pen­tagon of­fi­cial said.

—FILE PHOTO

S-400 Tri­umf mis­sile sys­tem at the Rus­sian Hmeimim base

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