US considering sanctions against India — Analysis

Washington asks New Delhi not to support Moscow and threatens US sanctions for purchasing Russian arms

Washington is looking at the possibility of sanctioning India over New Delhi’s purchases of Russian weapons, a senior State Department official has told Congress. India is being urged by the US to denounce Moscow in light of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

President Joe Biden is “looking very closely”Donald Lu, the Assistant Secretary of State in South Asian Affairs told the Senate that he was evaluating whether the US should implement the ban on Russia’s military hardware purchases.

India bought S-400 anti-aircraft defense systems (ADS) from Moscow recently, in violation of the Countering American Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017, which was passed by the United States in 2017 in response to claims of Russian interference in US elections. 

“I can assure you that the administration will follow the CAATSA law and fully implement that law and will consult with Congress as we move forward with any of them,”Lu shared his thoughts with lawmakers. “What unfortunately I am not able to say is to prejudge the decisions of the President or the [secretary of state] on the waiver issue or on the sanctions issue, or whether Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will bear on that decision,”He added.

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Turkey, an NATO ally was sanctioned in December 2020 under CAATSA and expelled from F-35 fighter programs. Russia purchased S-400s.

The US has experienced a number of months in an enviable position over the last few months. “pitched battle”Lu met with Indian officials and Antony Blinken, Secretary of State, to push New Delhi. “to take a clearer position, a position opposed to Russia’s action.”

Lu stated that India had already cancelled orders for MiG-29 helicopters and fighters from Russia. However, the US wants more. Washington “in the process of trying to understand whether defense technology that we are sharing with India today can be adequately safeguarded given India’s historical relationship with Russia and its defense sales.” 

New Delhi’s abstention at the UN General Assembly vote to condemn Russia on Wednesday and offer of humanitarian aid to Ukraine are “promising steps,”Lu added that “action has begun to turn public opinion in India against a country that they perceived as a partner”A Russian bombing reportedly caused the death of an Indian student in Kharkov.

Both Washington and Moscow have wooed India in recent years, with Russia signing a number of manufacturing contracts – including weapons and Covid-19 vaccines – while the US renamed its regional command “Indo-Pacific”New Delhi was declared a “major defense partner”In 2016.

India will also be participating in the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue. It is an alliance that comprises the US, Japan, Australia, and is designed to combat China. On Thursday, the White House stated that Biden had a video conference with members of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue. “to discuss the war against Ukraine and its implications for the Indo-Pacific.”

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