Washington [US], August 3 (ANI): After the US House of Representatives opened the way for India-specific waiver under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) last month, the Joe Biden administration is now expected to exempt its major defence partner from punitive measures that intend to deal with countries who buy military systems from Russia.
The US House of Representatives on July 14 approved an amendment with an overwhelming majority to the National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA) that proposes the deepening of India-US defence ties. This amendment was offered by Khanna, a progressive Democrat from California.
In an exclusive interview with ANI, American Congressman Ro Khanna last week said a waiver to India of CAATSA, which penalises countries that engage in significant defence transactions with Russia, is in the best national interest of the US and the US-India defence partnership.
Speaking about the waiver in the national security interests of the United States, Khanna divulged that it was the most significant vote to strengthen the US-India relationship since the civilian nuclear deal that was passed with overwhelmingly 300 bipartisan votes.
Writing for the Diplomat magazine, Husain Haqqani and Aparna Pande, contended that the aim of CAATSA was to punish the United States' enemies, not punish its friends.
Both Haqqani and Pande, who are part of the Washington-based Hudson Institute, said the threat of CAATSA sanctions against India would have been self-defeating and would not have advanced US interests.
"If the amendment is voted upon in the US Senate, it is likely to get overwhelming support. But it is likely that the Biden administration will take the lead from the House of Representatives and reaffirm ties with India without necessarily waiting for a Senate vote," they said.
India had inked the USD 5.43 billion deal with Russia for five squadrons of S-400s in October 2018. Marking the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Russian-Indian diplomatic ties, Russian Ambassador to India Denis Alipov in June said that the S-400 Triumf air defence missile system is proceeding well and in accordance with the schedule.
According to Washington-based experts, India remains important to US strategy, notwithstanding reservations over India's slower-than-expected military modernization and economic growth.
They also pointed out that India-US security relations have grown rapidly over the last decade and a half. "India imported USD 21 billion in military equipment from the US over the last decade though, in 2008, military imports from the US were virtually non-existent. India has signed four foundational agreements that bind close American military partners and allies," Haqqani and Pande said.
Given the strategic importance of the India-US ties, they argued that India and the United States are close enough to discuss any differences of views through quiet diplomacy. (ANI)