S-400 Triumf: India optimistic about getting US waiver

Russia has been keen on inking the deal on S-400 Triumf air defence systems with India, as it wants to send out a message of defiance to the United States.

he Rs 39,000 crore deal to buy five S-400 Triumf air defence systems is high on the agenda of Modi-Putin summit.

India is optimistic about securing a waiver from United States' sanctions, as it is likely to make progress towards inking a deal to buy S-400 Triumf air defence systems from Russia during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in New Delhi on Friday.

The Rs 39,000 crore deal to buy five S-400 Triumf air defence systems is high on the agenda of Modi-Putin summit, which will be followed by signing of several agreements, expanding bilateral cooperation in diverse areas, including defence, nuclear energy, hydrocarbon, space, agriculture and transport sectors.

Putin arrived in New Delhi on Thursday. He and Modi will hold the summit at Hyderabad House here on Friday.

Russia has been keen on inking the deal on S-400 Triumf air defence systems with India, as it wants to send out a message of defiance to the United States.

New Delhi, which is keen to strike a balance between its engagements with Russia and America, has rather been treading cautiously and is understood to be relying on its talks with Washington DC to make it sure that it does not come under US sanctions for moving ahead to ink the S-400 Triumf deal with Moscow.

The US Congress in July 2017 passed the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) to impose sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea. US President Donald Trump signed it into law in August 2017 and its scope was further expanded in October 2017. The Section 231 of the CAATSA mandated secondary sanctions to any nation entering into high-value deals to procure military hardware from Russia.

New Delhi has been asking Washington to make it sure that its entities does not become liable for action under the CAATSA, once it goes ahead to finalise its proposed defence deals with Moscow, including the contract to procure S-400 Triumf air defence missile system from Almaz-Antey Corporation of Russia.

New Delhi conveyed to Washington that India could not abruptly scale down its reliance on military hardware from Russia, given the decades-old history of defence cooperation between the two countries. India also made it clear that its bilateral strategic partnership with the US, particularly the defence cooperation, might be at risk if the Trump administration did not grant New Delhi an exemption from CAATSA sanctions.

The issue was also discussed when External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman hosted US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis in New Delhi for India-US 2+2 dialogue early last month.

Pompeo later hinted that US understood India's reliance on defence equipment from Russia and Trump Administration might not penalise New Delhi even if it went ahead to strike the S-400 missile defence system deal with Moscow.

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S-400 Triumf: India optimistic about getting US waiver

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