US imposes sanctions on India for buying Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile

indica News Bureau-

The US demanded that India abandon the Russian S-400 and buy American air defense-otherwise sanctions.

New Delhi had announced its plans to purchase Russia’s S-400 missile systems back in 2015. The $5.43 billion worth S-400 contract was signed during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to India last year, despite repeated warning from the United States that going ahead with the deal may lead to sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). The US had earlier said it was “very upset” about Turkey’s purchase of Russian missile defence systems and could impose sanctions on Ankara if it does not “get rid” of them.

The United States of America demanded that India immediately and unconditionally terminate the contract for the purchase of Russian s-400 air defense systems. As an alternative, Washington offers India to purchase American air and missile defense systems, otherwise threatening to impose robust sanctions, reported Free News.

“Assistant Secretary of state for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice wells called on India to choose American air defense systems instead of Russian ones. Otherwise, official New Delhi may face sanctions. The diplomat was asked whether it could be a question of sanctions pressure. The relevant law, she said, is a priority for the Congress, so the question of sanctions is “not removed.”

It should be clarified that this is not the first threat from the United States to India. However, it is noteworthy that the statement of Alice wells made a lot of noise in the Indian media, where it is reported that at the moment, it is time to think about whether to acquire Russian air defense equipment.

Last year, New Delhi made the first tranche of payment of around USD 800 million to Russia for the missile systems. The S-400 is known as Russia’s most advanced long-range surface-to-air missile defence system.

Apart from India, Turkey – the US-NATO ally – also went ahead with the purchase of the Russian missile system forcing Washington to block Ankara from receiving equipment related to the F-35 fighter jet.

The US had imposed sanctions on Russia under the stringent CAATSA and as per the law actions will also be taken on countries which buy defence hardware from Russia.

The head of Turkey’s Defence Industry Directorate had said last year that a second S-400 delivery to Turkey may be delayed beyond a planned 2020 timeline by talks on technology sharing and joint production.

After the Erdgoan regime brough the missile system from Russia, Washington removed Turkey from the F-35 programme, in which Ankara was a manufacturer and buyer.

The S-400 is the most advanced long-range air defense missile system that had gone into serive in Russia in 2007.

The defence system is designed to destroy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, including medium-range missiles, and can also be used against ground installations.

The S-400 can engage targets at a distance of 400 km and at an altitude of up to 30 km.

There are no official statements from India in this regard yet. However, earlier, the leader of this country said that India does not plan to refuse to buy Russian S-400 since the latter must provide maximum protection from threats of air and missile attacks. Given the current situation on the border with China, the refusal of “Triumphs” can turn into a huge problem for new Delhi.

Responded to a question posed by former US Ambassador to India Richard Verma, Wells said that interoperability is an important issue and it is important for India to think how they want their systems to communicate with one another.

“It’s not a mix and match arrangement. At a certain point, India will have to make sort of a strategic commitment to technologies and platforms and we think we have the best technologies and platforms,” she said.

She, however, said that both the countries have made significant progress in defense trade with weapons sales crossing the USD 20 billion mark after President Donald Trump’s visit to India.

I’m proud that our maturing relationship has allowed us to develop a new degree of resiliency and self-confidence and that does allow us to navigate differences on issues like trade sanctions and visas, she said.

Adding that the US recognizes India as a leading power Wells said that Washington understands that New Delhi’s rise contributes to an environment in Asia that serves US interests.