India Abroad

Before Modi-Vladimir Putin Meet, India-Russia Work On Circumventing US Sanctions

DIVYIA ASTHANA | 0
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| May 15 , 2018 , 09:49 IST

Less than a month after visiting China for an 'informal summit' Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to visit Russia on May 21 for an informal summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, at the invitation of President Putin, media reported on Tuesday.

Ahead of the summit, India and Russia, in consideration of proposed defence projects worth over $12 billion, are working on a road map to navigate around the new US sanctions regime that seeks to deter nations from buying Russian weapon systems.

"There are ways to get around the new financial sanctions flowing out of the CAATSA (Countering America's Adversaries through Sanction Act) enacted by US Congress. Consultations are in progress at several levels with the Russian government to devise a road map for it," said a top government source on Monday.

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The Indian security establishment has expressed unhappiness at the US state department's April 6 move notifying 39 Russian entities including state-controlled arms exporter Rosoboronexport with which India conducts regular business.

As per the US CAATSA, any third party conducting "significant transactions" with these 39 entities is liable for punitive sanctions. However, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis has reportedly argued for "national security waivers and relief" from CAATSA for countries like India.

"On the one hand, the US wants India to be its closest strategic partner in Asia Pacific as a hedge against China. On the other, it is jeopardising our proposed acquisition of S-400 air defence missile systems from Russia as well as frigate, submarine and helicopter projects. It will also reinforce suspicions in India about the US not being a reliable longterm arms supplier," a government source said to TOI.

Although Russia has conducted military sales to India worth $65 billion since the early 1960s, US has bagged deals worth  $15 billion from India since 2007 and is eyeing several new projects.