INDO-US RELATIONS AND THE THREAT OF SANCTIONS [GS PAPER II]

CONTEXT : With the announcement of supplies of the S-400 Triumf system to India by Russia, the U.S. has now threatened India with sanctions. Though this deal for the air defence system was signed in 2018 during Mr. Putin’s visit then.

For this current action, the US may use the excuse of CAATSA ACT  (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act), which was passed in 2017.

CAATSA ACT – provides for economic and travel sanctions against the countries and officials that transacted significant military and intelligence contracts with Russia, North Korea and Iran. 

STAND OF INDIA W.R.T. THE U.S. SANCTIONS :- “Little heed or not much concern” 

 A rupee-rouble system has been used by India and Russia, in order to protect advance payments for the S-400 from U.S. restrictions.

OPTIONS WITH U.S.A. –

Not to allow the S-400 delivery to turn into a showdown with India.

  The U.S. Congress has authorised U.S. President Joe Biden to waive sanctions if :

  • The waiver is found to be in American “vital national security interests”

  • OR India would reduce its future dependence on Russian weaponry

  • Many U.S. Congress representatives have proposed amendment to CAATSA, as India is a very crucial U.S. partner [the Quad, the Indo-Pacific and in countering China].

RESULT OF THE SANCTIONS : 

  • Sanctions will create a rift in Indo-U.S. ties, and could move India towards Russia. 

  • Such unilateral sanctions, not U.N. endorsed, will compromise with the multilateral system 

  • Threat of sanctions will hurt the very basis of Indo-U.S. global strategic partnership

MEANING OF SUCH SANCTIONS TO INDIA: 

  • To be a party to a bilateral dispute 

  • Challenging India’s principles of sovereignty and strategic autonomy

WAY FORWARD : INDIA should make it clear to U.S. that the CAATSA law should be abandoned, as it invalidates the “rules-based International order” which is the foundation of the India-U.S. global strategic partnership and also take the US legislators into confidence.

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