Trump threatens India with CAATSA over S-400 deal with Russia
11 October 2018
Days after India signed a $5 billion deal to acquire S-400 air defence system from Russia, US President Donald Trump on Wednesday said India "will soon find out" about his decision on the punitive CAATSA sanctions.
The US law, Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which was amended early this year, empowers the President to act against any country that he considers inimical to US interests.
The US embassy spokesperson in New Delhi had last week clarified that the CAATSA was aimed only at Moscow and not intended to damage the military capabilities of its "allies and partners."
However, when asked about the agreement between India and Russia during an interaction with reporters in the Oval Office of the White House, Trump said, "India will find out. Aren't they?"
"India is going to find out," he reiterated in response to India specific question. Asked when, he said, "You will see. Sooner than you think." secretary of state Mike Pompeo was also in the room when Trump answered the question on CAATSA sanctions.
The mega deal was sealed in New Delhi during the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin for the annual summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Pompeo and Defence Secretary James Mattis had earlier argued the case for a waiver to India. Last week, the White House had said that the US presidential waiver on weapons deal with sanctions-hit Russia is intended to "wean" countries like India off the Russian equipment.
"The (CAATSA presidential) waiver is narrow, intended to wean countries off Russian equipment and allow for things such as spare parts for previously-purchased equipment," a White House National Security Council Spokesperson had said after the conclusion of the S-400 contract. The US embassy spokesperson in New Delhi had said that the CAATSA was aimed at Moscow and not intended to damage the military capabilities of its "allies and partners."
Meanwhile, the first delivery of the S-400 air defence systems is expected by 2020. And regardless of US sanctions’ heat, India and Russia will announce new sizeable defence deals by the start of next year, reports quoting Russian envoy Nikolay Kudashev as saying in an interview.
But, he said, President Putin’s visit was not confined to the S-400 deal; there were other important agreements on strategically important areas like space, nuclear energy, transportation etc.