South Asia and Beyond

‘Ukraine Invasion Adds Pressure Vs CAATSA Waivers; New Robust Russia Sanctions Need Diligent Study’

NEW DELHI: On ‘Talking Point‘, Ambassador Pankaj Saran, India’s Deputy National Security Advisor from May 2018 to December 31, 2021 and Envoy to Russia(2016-18) says India has “conveyed the message” on potential U.S. CAATSA(Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) against the S-400 air defence system acquisition from Russia and the message “has been heard in U.S. circles that matter.” How the U.S. “navigates added pressure” post Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “remains to be seen” he tells StratNews Global Associate Editor Amitabh P. Revi, adding, “the new territory of robust sanctions against Russia are being studied diligently to take required decisions”.

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CAATSA has extraterritorial applications and the CAATSA was enacted to target the Russian defence industry. In our discussions with the Americans, we have actually explained to them that India’s acquisition of, say the S-400, is meant to strengthen India’s own military capabilities vis-a-vis our primary military adversaries. Therefore, anything that helps India to strengthen such capabilities contributes to the common objectives that we have in terms of ensuring a peaceful and stable Indo Pacific region. This message has been conveyed and it has been heard in those circles in the U.S., which matter. Now, the law and how they navigate it within the Congress, in the light of the Ukrainian invasion is something that remains to be seen. Clearly there will be added pressure on the U.S. administration. This is something which will play out as we go along. But in terms of the S-400 contract, I think this is very much on schedule. We will have to wait and see what further collateral effects the Ukrainian situation has on the CAATSA implementation. Now we are going to enter into a totally new territory of even more robust sanctions against Russian defence industries and companies. So all this will, I’m sure, be studied diligently by the government and they will take whatever decisions are required. But I think before taking any decision, the most important point is to study the sanctions and what they actually mean.