India faces possible US sanctions over S-400 air defense systems from Russia

India faces possible US sanctions over S-400 air defense systems from Russia

Noriko Watanabe and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times 

India will procure S-400 air defense missiles systems from the Russian Federation and other armaments concerning India’s national security. However, the administration of President Joe Biden of the United States might put sanctions on India in response.

This relates to an anti-Russian Federation law passed in the United States in 2017. This law is aimed at deterring nations from buying military hardware from the Russian Federation. Yet, in recent years, the United States values India highly related to Washington’s containment policies aimed at China. Therefore, the Biden administration must weigh up the repercussions of sanctions against India.

Reuters reports, “India faces a range of financial sanctions from the United States under Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which names Russia an adversary alongside North Korea and Iran for its actions against Ukraine, interference in the U.S. 2016 elections and help to Syria.”

The Russian Federation is blessed with cordial relations with China, India, and a plethora of nations. Henceforth, the historical importance in the military sector of the Russian Federation to India can’t be beholden to the whims of Washington. 

India is a growing power economically and seeks to spread its influence throughout the Asia Pacific. Thus, for Washington to even contemplate sanctions on India highlights contempt.

From a political and military angle, India is a sovereign nation and independent. Therefore, no nation – be it the United States, the Russian Federation, or collective groups including the European Union – can be seen to be dictating to India. 

The Russian Federation and India have shared cordial relations for decades. This is a legacy of the Cold War period under the former Soviet Union to new dynamics under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin. 

D.B. Venkatesh Varma, the Ambassador of India to the Russian Federation, said,  “In pursuance of the expected delivery schedule, we are also undertaking training of Indian Air Force personnel who will be responsible for operating the S400 systems. There are specific defense and national security considerations that led India to conclude the contract for the supply of S-400 systems. All I can say is that this contract will be implemented. We will do what we have to do and necessary for India to preserve and protect its national security interests. Under Prime Minister Modi’s leadership there can be no doubt about India’s determination to pursue our specific national security interests.”

Internationally, despite the recent debacle in Afghanistan following on from America’s folly in Vietnam to Iraq, political elites in Washington still can’t escape their Cold War mentality from Ukraine to Taiwan. Hence, endless military posturing and sowing regional divisions. 

However, India is a growing power that isn’t beholden to any nation. Therefore, the Biden administration should avoid sanctions on India and instead focus on diplomacy.

https://www.reuters.com/world/india/russia-starts-missile-supplies-india-despite-us-sanctions-risk-2021-11-14/

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/news-analysis-will-india-face-us-sanctions-for-procuring-russias-s-400/article36256516.ece

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