Why US will refrain from slapping sanctions on India over S-400 deal with Russia

By the end of this year, Russia will deliver the first batch of S-400 Triumf batteries, Command and Control Management systems and other sophisticated weaponry to India said Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhary on the eve of Air Force Day on 08 October.  

There is a possibility especially in the circles of the Biden Administration that India might not face the plethora of sanctions over the S-400 Triumf Missile Defence System under Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). Why? Because the US administration needs India in the backdrop of rising Chinese prowess in the Indo-Pacific region.

The sanctions imposed by America will push India towards the camps of Russia. These sanctions will remind of all those bad memories when President Bill Clinton imposed sanctions on India over their 1998 Nuclear tests. At that time there was a lot of rifts in the relations of the countries.  

The purpose of CAATSA is to counter the aggression of some state nations like Russia, Iran and North Korea in the region. Moscow’s illegal involvement in Crimea irked the White House to slap the sanctions against them.  

Last year, United States Senate has passed a legal provision under National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that brought India at par with United States’s NATO allies and countries like Israel, South Korea and Japan.  

India has become a non-NATO ally although New Delhi refrains from accepting the tag. It has a long history of purchasing military machinery from the Soviet Union later Russia.  

United States is countering the imbalance by providing contracts to Indian defence companies so that they can also integrate the supply chains of the US defence manufacturers. Many defence contractors have a presence in India, facilitating the co-production of military equipment and helping the US defence manufacturers in regular supply of key assembly items. India’s private sector industry is pitching in making aerostructures and tails for US-based defence companies like Boeing Defense and Lockheed Martin.

India has gradually diversified its interests in recent years whether its civil nuclear agreement under the Bush Administration in 2006 or its recent purchases of military equipment from the United States.

Since 2008 the arms purchase by India has now totalled more than $25 billion worth of military equipment. Some of the military equipment like P-8I reconnaissance and surveillance aircraft and MH-60 Romeo helicopters will enhance the security of the Indian Navy in the Indian Ocean region.  

India’s Foreign Ministry has bluntly told Americans that it is not going to budge down of America’s threats. Now the ball is in America’s court, if they impose sanctions on India, then it will not be called a reliable partner of India.  

Although they have created a lot of ruckuses for themselves this year, first the withdrawal of its troops from Kabul and then it tricked France into collaborating with the United Kingdom to provide nuclear submarines to Australia under AUKUS alliance. And if they impose sanctions on India at such a juncture, it will have a serious impact on its foreign policy towards the Indo-Pacific region. 

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