The US is “discouraging” India from acquiring S-400 missile defence systems from Russia but Washington will have to weigh “important geostrategic considerations” on growing calls for a presidential CAATSA waiver to New Delhi, President Joe Biden’s nominee for Coordinator for Sanctions Policy has told lawmakers.
The US has already imposed sanctions on Turkey under the CAATSA for the purchase of a batch of S-400 missile defence systems from Russia. In October 2018, India signed a $5 billion deal with Russia to buy five units of the S-400 air defence missile systems, despite a warning from the then Trump administration that going ahead with the contract may invite US sanctions.
The Biden administration has not yet clarified whether it will impose sanctions on India under the provisions of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) for procuring the S-400 missile systems.
James O’Brien, President Biden’s nominee for the US State Department’s coordinator for sanctions policy was asked at his confirmation hearing on Wednesday if the US experience with Turkey provided any warning or lessons on how to proceed with India. “The administration has made clear that it is discouraging India from proceeding with the acquisitions of Russian equipment, and there are important geostrategic considerations, particularly with (unintelligible) relationship to China. So, I think we have to look at what the balance is,” he said.