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US yet to decide on potential waiver of sanctions against India for S-400 purchase: Reports

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

Washington: The Joe Biden administration has not made a determination on a potential waiver of sanctions against India for its purchase of the S-400 missile defence system from Russia, a state department spokesperson said, noting that the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) does not have a blanket or country-specific waiver provision.

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The United States also urges “all of our allies, partners” to forgo transactions with Russia that risk triggering sanctions under the CAATSA, the spokesperson said in response to reports that Russia has started delivering the S-400 to India.

India had signed a USD 5.43-billion deal with Russia for the purchase of five S-400 surface to air missile systems during the 19th India-Russia Annual Bilateral Summit in New Delhi in October 2019, for long-term security needs.

Washington had indicated that the Russian S-400 systems may trigger CAATSA sanctions. The CAATSA is a United States federal law that imposed sanctions on Iran, North Korea, and Russia.

CAATSA authorises the US administration to impose sanctions on countries that purchase major defence hardware from Russia in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and its alleged meddling in the 2016 US presidential elections.

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Amid calls from US senators to waive sanctions against India, the spokesperson clarified that the CAATSA does not have a blanket or country-specific waiver provision.

“We urge all of our allies and partners to forgo transactions with Russia that risk triggering sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). We have not made a determination on a potential waiver with respect to Indian arms transactions with Russia. CAATSA does not have a blanket or country-specific waiver provision,” the spokesperson said.

“The U.S.-India defence partnership has expanded significantly in recent years, commensurate with India’s status as a major defence partner. We expect this strong momentum in our defence partnership to continue. We value our strategic partnership with India,” the spokesperson added.

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