The United States Senate on Wednesday passed a bill to amend another law that threatens sanctions against countries, such as India, that buy weapons from Russia. The $716 billion bill, called the National Defense Authorization Act, has already been passed in the House of Representatives and will now be sent to President Donald Trump for his approval.
The Senate voted 87-10 for the National Defense Authorization Act. Passed every year, it is used to authorise US military spending, but also as a vehicle for many policy matters, the Washington Post reported.
“The Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act waiver that the Congress has made available to India in the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act should provide ample flexibility for New Delhi to proceed with the purchase of the Russian S-400 system,” Joshua White, a former senior official of the National Security Council in the White House, told PTI. “The legislative language is designed to look very tough, as if the Congress is tightening its secondary sanctions on countries that procure Russian equipment. In reality, the language contains multiple loopholes, which benefit India.”
“I am grateful for the strong commitment of members on both sides of the aisle to pass this year’s National Defense Authorization Act,” US Defense Secretary James Mattis said in a statement. “Together, they have demonstrated the deep and abiding bipartisan support our military enjoys. It is now our duty to implement these policies responsibly and ensure a culture of performance and accountability.”
The Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act was passed in 2017, and came into effect in 2018 to punish Russia for its alleged interference in the 2016 US presidential elections. It forbids third-party countries from carrying out “significant transactions” with Russia in military and intelligence sectors, by threatening secondary sanctions.