US unhappy with India’s S-400 air defence system deal with Russia

A US Congressional report has warned that India’s decision to ink a multi-billion dollar deal to purchase S-400 air defence system from Russia may prompt Washington to impose sanctions on India.

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) said in its report to Congress that India is “eager for more technology-sharing and co-production initiatives, while the United States urges more reforms in India’s defence offsets policy and higher Foreign Direct Investment caps in its defence sector”. It is to be noted that the CRS is an independent and bipartisan research wing of US Congress.

The CRS said that it has prepared the report “for the members of the Congress for them to make informed decisions.” “India’s multi-billion dollar deal to purchase the Russian-made S-400 air defence system may trigger US sanctions on India under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act,” added the report.

Notably, the reports of the CRS are not an official report of the US Congress and independent experts prepare the reports of the CRS in order to help the American lawmakers to make informed decisions.

India and Russia had inked a USD 5 billion deal in October 2018 under which it was agreed that Moscow will give five units of the S-400 air defence missile systems to India. India decided to finalise the deal despite a warning from the US that the US may impose sanctions on New Delhi if it goes ahead with the deal.

On December 15, the US had imposed sanctions on Turkey for acquiring S-400 air defence systems from Russia. It may be recalled that the ground-to-air defenses system was acquired by Turkey from Russia in mid-2019. At that time Turkey had said that the acquisition poses no threat to NATO allies.