'India will soon find out' | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 12, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, October 12, 2018

'India will soon find out'

Trump on US sanctions for S-400 deal with Russia

President Donald Trump on Wednesday said that India "will soon find out" about his decision on the punitive CAATSA sanctions after India signed a $5 billion deal to purchase the much-vaunted S-400 air defence system from Russia.

Under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act or CAATSA sanctions, which was amended early this year, only Trump has the authority for the presidential waiver to India on weapons deal with sanctions-hit Russia.

India last week inked a $5 billion deal+ to purchase S-400 Triumf air defence system from Moscow. The mega deal was sealed in New Delhi during the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin for the annual summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Asked about the agreement between India and Russia, Trump while interacting with reporters in the Oval Office of the White House, said, "India will find out. Aren't they?"

"India is going to find out," he reiterated in response to India specific question. Asked when, he said, "You will see. Sooner than you think."

Secretary of state Mike Pompeo was also in the room when Trump answered the question on CAATSA sanctions. Pompeo was scheduled to meet the president later.

Pompeo and defence secretary James Mattis had earlier argued the case for a waiver to India.

Last week, the White House had said that the US presidential waiver on weapons deal with sanctions-hit Russia is intended to "wean" countries like India off the Russian equipment.

"The (CAATSA presidential) waiver is narrow, intended to wean countries off Russian equipment and allow for things such as spare parts for previously-purchased equipment," a White House National Security Council spokesperson had said after the conclusion of the S-400 contract.

The US embassy spokesperson in New Delhi had said that the CAATSA was aimed at Moscow and not intended to damage the military capabilities of its "allies and partners."

Last month, the United States imposed sanctions on China's military for its purchase of combat fighters as well as the S-400 missile system it bought from Russia this year.

More than 80 percent of India's military equipment was of Soviet origin during the days of the Cold War, but since its breakup New Delhi has diversified its weaponry.

Russia and India have been close since the 1950s and Moscow remains its biggest source of weaponry as it prepares itself for perceived potential threats from China and Pakistan.

India has also been irked by Trump's decision to exit from the 2015 nuclear deal between major powers and Iran, a major supplier of oil to the fast-growing Indian economy.

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