US House waives sanctions on India’s defence deals with Russia
The United States must stand with India in the face of escalating aggression from China, Congressman Ro Khanna said.
The United States House of Representatives on Thursday passed Congressman Ro Khanna’s amendment that approves a waiver for India under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, or CAATSA, PTI reported.
It paves way for India to buy S-400 missile defence system from Russia – a deal which was stopped by former US President Donald Trump in 2018, saying he would impose punitive sanctions. Under the CAATSA, the US can impose sanctions on any country that has significant defence deals with Iran, North Korea and Russia.
Khanna, who authored and introduced the amendment on Thursday, urged the Joe Biden administration to provide India with a waiver to help it counter China’s aggression.
“The United States must stand with India in the face of escalating aggression from China,” Khanna told the House. “As Vice Chair of the India Caucus, I have been working to strengthen the partnership between our countries and ensure that India can defend itself along the Indian Chinese border.”
Khanna said that this amendment is of “utmost importance” as India faces continued military aggression by China at the Line of Actual Control.
India and China have been locked in a border standoff since their troops clashed in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh in June 2020. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the clash. China had put the number of casualties on its side at four.
“India relies on Russian-built weapons for its national defence,” Khanna’s office said in a statement. “United States should take additional steps to encourage India to accelerate India’s transition off Russian-built weapons and defence systems while strongly supporting India’s immediate defence needs.”
In March, US Senator Ted Cruz had said that it would be “extraordinarily foolhardy” of the Biden administration to impose sanctions on India over its purchase of the S-400 missile defence system from Russia.
At a hearing of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Cruz said that India is a “critical ally [of Washington] across a number of areas”.
After Thursday’s development, the amended Act will have to be passed in both the House and the Senate, the Hindustan Times reported. After discussions and approvals, it will become a law.