India Abroad

US Sanctions China For Buying Russian Jets, Changes Stance On India's S-400 Russia Deal

| September 21 , 2018 , 11:57 IST

The US, after imposing punishing financial sanctions on a Chinese military organisation for buying Russian fighter jets and missiles, on Friday warned India that there could be "implications" if it goes ahead with its own Russian deal.

In July, the US had initially announced a waiver to India for its Russian defence deal worth Rs 39,000 crore for five advanced S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems, along with 2 other nations, namely Indonesia and Vietnam from the sanctions applicable under Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). However, the US appears to have changed its stance.

The sanctions on China were placed to step up pressure on Russia over its "malign activities", officials said. The US State Department said that it was applying the 2017 legislation against the Equipment Development Department (EDD) of the Chinese Ministry of Defense for its purchase of Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets and S-400 surface-to-air missiles.

ALSO READ: US To Grant Waiver To India On S-400 Missile Deal With Russia

As a result of the sanctions, EDD and its director Li Shangfu's assets in US jurisdictions would be frozen and EDD's access to global financial markets would also become restricted by the US blocking foreign exchange transactions under US jurisdictions or any transactions in the US financial system.

Issuing the warning to India as well, a senior US administration official said, "The ultimate target of these sanctions is Russia."  

The official added, "CAATSA sanctions in this context are not intended to undermine the defense capabilities of any particular country. They are aimed at imposing costs on Russia in response to its malign activities."

ALSO READ: US May Block Sale Of Armed Drones To India, If Russian Arms Deal Continues

"We want to stress that the legislative standard here is a significant transaction with an entity that appears on the List of Specified Persons. We took these actions because China took delivery of 10 Sukhoi fighter aircraft, specifically Su-25s, in December of 2017, after the CAATSA statute came into force. It also took delivery of a batch of S-400 sometimes known as SA-21 surface-to-air missile systems or related equipment in January of this year," the official said.

"As to other potential recipients of the S-400, we haven't made any determinations yet with respect to what to do about those, but you can be confident that we have spent an enormous amount of time talking about prospective purchases of things such as S-400s and Sukhois with people all around the world who may have been interested in such things and some who may still be," the official said.