India Abroad

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

| July 25 , 2018 , 10:12 IST

Around 2 weeks after India asserted that it would go ahead with the Russian defence deal worth Rs 39,000 crore despite the threat of sanctions from the US, the US has announced a waiver to India for Russian defence deal, media reported on Wednesday.

India had been in talks with Russia for a Rs 39,000 crore deal for five advanced S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems.

The US Senate and House Armed Services Committee, in a joint conference report to the National Defense Authorisation Act-2019 in Washington, provided a modified waiver to section 231 of the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which will allow India to continue with the Russian deal.

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The waiver would exempt 3 countries, namely India, Indonesia and Vietnam from the sanctions applicable under CAATSA which seeks to deter countries from buying Russian weapons systems or Iranian oil. Whether a waiver on buying oil from Iran, which is currently India's second largest supplier, will be granted or not  remains to be seen.

Earlier on July 13, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had asserted that India would go through with the S-400 deal with Russia despite pressure from the US, terming CAATSA as"a US law and not a UN law".

Both US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have reportedly been pushing for "national security waivers and relief " from CAATSA for countries like India, which have military projects with Russia worth $12 billion hanging in the balance and a critical operational requirement.

A US Congress delegation visiting India in May had first indicated US's displeasure with India's Russian deal, when it indicated that the US's proposed sale of armed drones such as the MQ-9 Reaper or Predator-B and other high-tech equipment to India may be affected if Russia's deal of S-400 ballistic missile shield continued.

The S-400 missile system is capable of hitting aircrafts over 300km away and can intercept incoming missiles.