India criticises US over sanctions in trilateral meet

India sides with Russia, China over criticisim on US sanctions in trilateral meet

Comments come in backdrop of US administration remaining non-committal over sanctioning India over an arms deal with Russia

A meeting of the RIC group. Credit: PTI Photo

India on Friday joined Russia and China to tacitly criticise the United States for imposing unilateral sanctions on other countries going beyond the curbs mandated by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar agreed with his Russian and Chinese counterparts, Sergey Lavrov and Wang Yi, that imposition of “unilateral sanctions beyond those adopted by the UNSC as well as 'long-arm jurisdiction’ were inconsistent with the principles of international law”, according to a joint statement issued after a virtual trilateral meet.

Jaishankar, Lavrov and Wang also agreed that the unilateral sanctions had reduced the effectiveness and legitimacy of the UNSC’s sanction regime and had a negative impact on international economic and trade relations.

New Delhi joined Moscow and Beijing to reiterate its opposition to the practice of imposing unilateral sanctions, as President Joe Biden’s administration remained non-committal on granting India a waiver from the US CAATSA [Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act] curbs.

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India’s $5.43 billion deal with Russia for procuring S-400 missiles had put it at the risk of being placed under US sanctions in accordance with Section 231 of the CAATSA. India also had to drastically cut its crude oil import from Iran after President Donald Trump’s administration reimposed sanctions on the West Asian Islamic Republic in November 2018.

India on Friday once again tacitly nudged the US to refrain from applying CAATSA sanctions on it for its purchase of S-400 Triumf air defence systems from Russia. “India and the US have a comprehensive global strategic partnership and India has a special and privileged strategic partnership with Russia as I mentioned earlier, we also pursue an independent foreign policy,” Arindam Bagchi, the spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, said.

“This also applies to our defence acquisition and supplies, which are guided by our national security interest,” Bagchi said, underlining that India would go ahead with receiving the delivery of the air defence system from Russia.

Jaishankar, Lavrov and Wang also called for further consolidation and strengthening of the working methods of the UNSC Sanctions Committee to ensure their effectiveness, responsiveness and transparency.

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New Delhi also joined Moscow and Beijing to reiterate the importance of full implementation of the July 14, 2015 agreement between Tehran and the five permanent members of the UNSC — United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia and China — as well as Germany and the European Union on the nuclear programme of Iran. They expressed support to efforts to ensure the earliest “reinvigoration” of the agreement, which Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump had unilaterally scrapped in May 2018.

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