S400 deal: ‘India caught in crossfire’, says Washington Post
New Delhi, Oct 6: As India signed an agreement with Russia to procure S400 Triumf air defence system from the latter on Friday, October 5, during a visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to New Delhi, the eyes were stuck on the United States. Will Washington penalise India for going ahead with the key pact that could see a change of game in South Asia?
The Washington Post came up with an analysis 'The U.S. wants to punish Russia for election interference. India is caught in the crossfire' on Friday whereby it said that Washington enacted sanctions to retaliate against Russia's alleged interference in its 2016 presidential elections and that its goal was to hit its enemy and not penalise its friends.
"But that is exactly what could happen as India - a country that the United States has sought to cultivate as a strategic partner - moves ahead with a major $5 billion weapons purchase from Moscow," the piece said.
It said the India-Russia pact theoretically makes India a candidate to face the US's wrath under its Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act or CAATSA. The act aims at panalising countries that engage in a sizeable business with Moscow's defence and intelligence sectors.
The Post said the key question that comes up now is whether Trump will grant a waiver to India for purchasing the S-400 system. In September, the US imposed sanctions on an arm of China's military for purchasing Russian fighter planes besides equipment for the advanced air defence system.
It then said: "The United States and India have drawn closer in recent years as both countries cast a wary eye on China's growing influence in the region. But the tussle over the Russian missile system represents a case of conflicting priorities."
"From the U.S. perspective, the sanctions are a necessary and appropriate response to Russian interference in the U.S. elections - and Washington expects allies to assist in that effort."
"India, meanwhile, is keen to deepen ties with the United States but not at the cost of severing a long-standing defense relationship with Russia. More broadly, it wants the independence to determine its own approach to countries like Iran and China, where its interests may differ substantially from those of the United States."