A top United States government official on Wednesday warned India that Washington cannot guarantee New Delhi a special waiver from sanctions if it buys new weapons platforms from Moscow. The United States is unhappy with India’s plans to buy the S-400 long-range, surface-to-air missile system from Russia.
Under new US laws, countries that make deals with Russian defence or intelligence sectors can face sanctions. However, the US Congress, on August 1, granted President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo the power to waive sanctions.
But Randall Schriver, the Pentagon’s assistant secretary of defence for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, said this had created a misconception that Washington would not impose sanctions on New Delhi, AFP reported. “I would say that’s a bit misleading,” Schriver said in a speech at the Carnegie Endowment For International Peace in Washington. “We would still have very significant concerns if India pursued major new platforms and systems from Russia. I can’t sit here and tell you that they would be exempt, that we would use that waiver.”
Schriver said the prospect of India buying the S-400 missile system from Russia is “troubling” for the United States. He urged New Delhi to “seek alternatives and see if we could be a partner in addressing those needs”.
The Pentagon official’s comments come a week before the first-ever 2+2 summit between the defence and foreign ministers of India and the United States on September 6.