New Delhi: A week after the S-400 missile deal was inked, the US has signalled it hasn’t forgotten its threat of sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). Reports on Thursday said US President Donald Trump has said that India “will soon find out” about his decision on the punitive CAATSA sanctions after the $5 billion deal to purchase the S-400 Triumf air defence system from Russia.
Under CAATSA, only Trump has the authority for the waiver to India on weapons deal with sanctions-hit Russia. India inked the deal during the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin for the annual summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (Also read: ‘Rafale, S-400 Like Booster Dose For Force’)
During an interaction with media at the Oval Office of the White House, PTI reported, Trump was asked about the agreement between India and Russia to which he said, “India will find out. Aren’t they?” On a specific question about India, he repeated, “India is going to find out.” As to when that will be, Trump said, “You will see. Sooner than you think.”
Soon after Trump paved the way for slapping sanctions on countries, foreign entities and individuals violating CAATSA, the US imposed sanctions on a Chinese entity, the Equipment Development Department and its director Li Shangfu, for its recent purchase of Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets and S-400 surface-to-air missile, a senior administration official said. CAATSA has imposed sanctions on Iran, North Korea and Russia.
Secretary of State Mik Pompeo and Defence Secretary James Mattis had reportedly 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.”