The fear of sanctions that could be imposed on India over its defence deal of the S-400 Triumf air defence system by the US under Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) will be counterproductive, opine experts. The views come following US President Donald Trump’s comments that India would soon “find out” if the punitive CAATSA sanctions apply to it over the S-400 deal with Russia.
Air Marshal M Matheswaran, former Deputy Chief of Integrated Defence Staff (DCIDS) at Air HQ, told FE ONLINE that, “It would be counterproductive for the US. India should ignore it and do everything that is in our national interest. “American national interest is not our concern,” he added.
Agreeing with him, former ambassador Anil Trigunayat, said that “They have to do something to prove their superiority. No one takes them seriously and I feel Nikki Haley, US Ambassador to the UN, might have chosen the way out to avoid further exposure. It could more be due to Nov 4 against Iran.”
Next month starting Nov 4, a second batch of stronger sanctions will be re-imposed on Iran’s oil and shipping sectors as well as its central bank. It may be recalled that the US has been asking the countries buying Iranian oil to cut imports to zero starting in November.
In his view, Trigyunat, said that, “I don’t think so but who knows with Trump especially if we go ahead with buying crude from Iran.”
“India should also work on financial strategies that would hedge us against such arrogant, coercive methods,” Matheswaran, presently, chairman & President, The Peninsula Foundation opined
In case India continues to buy oil from Iran, what action will US take? The former deputy chief at the Integrated Defence Staff said that, “Nothing. That’s what India will do and should do. The American intention in CAATSA is also to forcing us to buy from US.”
According Russian Ambassador to India Nikolay Kudashev in a section of the media has said that the CAATSA sanctions will not be a pressure between the defence deals signed between India and Russia.
According to the Russian envoy, during the recently concluded visit of President Vladmir Putin for the annual summit, both sides had discussed strategy to identify common priority areas and ways of protecting trade relationship from unavoidable situations like the unpredictable factors like CAATSA
The two countries had inked the deal amidst the warnings by the US against buying the weapon system. Said former secretary MEA, Anil Wadhwa, “We have already signed the S-400 deal, we cannot go back on that. ” “Now we have to wait and watch, “he added.
Both Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary James Mattis had earlier pushed in favour of a waiver India. As reported by FE earlier, CAATSA is a US federal law that imposed sanctions on Iran, North Korea and Russia. In Russia’s case, the act primarily deals with sanctions on Russian interests such as its oil and gas industry, defence and security sector, and financial institutions.
Earlier, the US embassy spokesperson in New Delhi had said that the CAATSA was aimed at Russia and not intended to damage the military capabilities of its “allies and partners.”