India seeks US ‘exemption’ for buying Russian S-400
In an extraordinary example of realpolitik, the Indian government is reportedly in discussion with US authorities “for an exemption to allow it to procure the S-400 advanced air defence missile system from Russia”. This is because a waiver is now needed from the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions ACT (CAATSA), for the procurement of this weapon system worth $5.5 billion (Rs 39,000 crore).” Some years earlier, India and Russia finalised an inter-governmental agreement on the S-400 Triumf air defence systems, in October 2016 and are currently in advance negotiations for at least five systems. The discussions have been stalled because of price issues and related matters. The S-400 matter could set India and the US on a “collision course” as at stake is India’s half century-long major defence relationship with Russia/ Soviet Union, which fact has been acknowledged by US Defence Department officials who opined that “forcing India to abruptly cut off Russian supplies would create unacceptable risks to India’s self-defence.”Other recipients of the S-400 are China and Turkey, the latter having earlier reacted strongly to US pressures.