Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit India early next month. At the same time, Russia’s state-of-the-art S-400 air defense system is arriving in India. Analysts believe that the acquisition of the S-400 in the current border crisis with China will bring much relief to India. Army members believe that the S-400 is one of the leading air defense systems in the market. However, the question remains, is India going to face US sanctions for buying arms from Russia?
An analysis by The Hindu, an Indian media outlet, states that the United States passed a law in 2016. The law, called the Countering American Adversaries Through Sanctions (CAATSA), states that any defense or intelligence agreement with Russia, Iran or North Korea would impose sanctions on the state or state officials involved. Naturally, the question may arise, how can the ban?
The sanctions that the United States can impose on India
Under Articles 231 and 235 of the US CAATSA Act, at least 12 sanctions can be imposed if a defense or intelligence agreement is reached with Russia, Iran or North Korea. However, there is an obligation to impose at least 5 restrictions. They include:
* The United States will cut off financial support to the treaty countries. At the same time, financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will be pressured to cut off aid.
* The sale of US-owned products and technologies will be banned. The United States has canceled a deal to sell US F-35 fighter jets to Turkey under the CAATSA Act. Turkey also bought S-400 from Russia.
* Banks, producers and suppliers of countries that have agreements with Russia, Iran or North Korea will be banned. Property transactions with the United States will be banned.
* Financial and travel restrictions will be imposed on persons involved in the contract.
What is the position of India in this case
Earlier, India had to withdraw from various initiatives in the face of the threat of US sanctions. That is why the country decided to cut off fuel supplies to Iran and Venezuela in 2019. However, the Narendra Modi government is in a very strong position on the S-400 issue.
India has moved ahead with the S-400 despite fears of US sanctions. Russia has agreed to buy five air defense units worth a total of ৩ 5.43 billion. Some money has also been paid. Due to this, the first consignment of S-400 is expected to arrive in India next month.
Some Indian diplomats have said that the S-400 is a matter of India’s internal security. In no way can this agreement be canceled. Meanwhile, India’s foreign ministry says India is considering US sanctions. Talks are underway with the US government on sanctions.
According to The Hindu, Russia’s defense partnership with India is quite old. Eighty percent of the country’s military equipment is purchased from Russia. Although India has already increased its arms purchases from the United States; Even so, owning one is still beyond the reach of the average person. The Indian Army also believes that the S-400 is one of the leading air defense systems in the market.
That path is open to the United States
According to The Hindu’s analysis, the United States can move ahead with India on the S-400 issue in a number of ways. The first is the imposition of sanctions under the CAATSA Act.
However, India is currently the largest partner of the United States in the region in world politics. Both countries are members of the Quadrilateral. The quad was formed to deal with Chinese aggression in the Indo-Pacific region. With that in mind, US President Joe Biden could lift sanctions six months later. In the meantime, the Biden administration may decide to lift sanctions on India in the “national security interests of the United States.”
Meanwhile, three US senators have proposed amendments to the CAATSA law. If the amendment is passed, the quad members will be exempted from the US sanctions. If the CAATSA Act is amended, India as a member of the Quad can reap the benefits.
As a last resort, the US government may repeal the CAATSA Act. In this case, Iran can be mentioned as an example. The United States has imposed sanctions on the country over its nuclear weapons program. It was later withdrawn; However, the United States reinstated it a decade later. However, at present, the possibility of repealing the CAATSA law is very slim, analysts say.
With that in mind, analysts say the easiest step for the United States is to lift the embargo six months later. They say the US government will decide in the meantime to take alternative measures, including lifting sanctions.
The United States may be under pressure to lift sanctions
According to The Hindu, the US CAATSA law will be weakened only if sanctions on India are relaxed. Pressure will also come from Turkey. This is because the US, a member of the Western military alliance NATO, is under US sanctions for buying S-400s.
The United States should also keep in mind that other countries may become interested in arms deals with Russia if India is exempted from sanctions. US ally Saudi Arabia could also sign an agreement with Russia in the hope of easing sanctions. The Saudi government has begun talks with Russia to buy the S-400. The United States has since offered to buy the US air defense system THAAD.
The Hindu report says that if sanctions are imposed on India after all reckoning, it will bring danger to the United States. Because of this, India can move towards a stronger military relationship with Russia. In that sense, it is possible the United States could lose ground to China.