US Gives Relief To India Against Sanctions Act: Historical Step For New Delhi In Obtaining Russian Weaponry

The US House of Representatives, on July 14,  approved an amendment allowing India to waiver against the punitive CAATSA sanctions. The move is an essential step for New Delhi’s purchase of Russian weaponry, India’s former ambassador to the US, Navtej Sarna, states the development. “It’s an essential step to an ultimate waiver for India’s purchase of Russian weaponry,” he said.

On 14 July, the US House of Representatives passed a legislative amendment to National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) by voice vote. The amendment covers the way for an India-specific waiver against the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) sanctions — a strict law that authorises the US government put sanctions on countries that obtain major defence hardware from Russia.

CAATSA became an insert point in the India-US ties after New Delhi inked a deal to fix Russia’s S-400 missile defence system. The US had thought about whether to apply or waive CAATSA sanctions on India over the Russian agreement, especially after Moscow invaded Ukraine this year.
Explaining the CAATSA, Navtej Sarna spoke that the law was essentially brought in to impose sanctions on any country with critical strategic or defence engagement with Russia, Iran, and North Korea. “It was meant to stop that engagement.

Navtej Sarna said that in 2018, a waiver provision was added to the CAATSA, but that was not an India-specific waiver.

“It essentially was imposed for India, but it was not an India-primarily waiver. It gave the (United States) administration the option to give a waiver in case they felt that the contract and relationship were working strategically for the US. The country being pointed with sanctions was trying to move away from Russian weaponry and a couple of other caveats,” Navtej Sarna said.

Navtej Sarna said that the new amendment, brought in by Indian-origin Congressman Ro Khanna, adds to that proceed and makes an India-specific case which will ultimately make it easier for the United States administration to give a waiver against CAATSA. It is essential that we can’t harm our interests to spite Russia. The second aspect pointed out that the United States and India are making a common cause against China. Congressman Ro Khanna’s amendment specifically mentions this India-US partnership is of great strategic importance in the Indo-Pacific. Navtej Sarna gives a statement.

The Chinese Aggression

Amendment highlight the US government’s acknowledgement that India is facing Chinese aggression on its borders and it’s essential for the United States to support India’s defence”.

India and the US cooperate in essential and emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and other cutting-edge technologies. It reflects that cooperating with a country to that extent in these critical days when the Chinese are becoming very antagonistic towards India and the rest world. And given the Russia-China partnership, it’s in the United States’ interest to grant India this waiver,

Reduction In Weaponry Dependence On Russia
the passing of the amendment to the NDAA shouldn’t be seen as a discreet event. The defence ties between US and India have increased manifold in the last 10-12 years, and New Delhi has become one of the significant defence partners of Washington.

The former ambassador said in the 2018 amendment to CAATSA that one of the clear waivers would be to see if a country is making efforts to move away from its defence engagement with Russia. Sarna said India had decreased its weaponry dependence on Russia over many years, which is in need of a waiver of probation under CAATSA.

“Naturally, this is a condition which the United States wants. It would be curious if they were to give a waiver if the other country was going to expand its contact with Russia. So India, for its own reasons, is diversifying from somewhere like 70 per cent to get to 58-60 per cent reliance on Russia and also increasing its purchases of US weaponry.