‘No guarantees for a special waiver if India buys new weapons from Russia’
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.
S-400 Triumf missile system at the Russian Hmeimim base