The United States was working with India and other partner countries to help them identify and avoid sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), Trump administration said on Saturday.
“We have discussed CAATSA with the government of India, and the United States is working with our partners including India to help them identify and avoid engaging in potentially sanctionable activity,” news agency PTI quoted a state department spokesperson as saying.
The statement holds significance for India as it has decided to purchase the S-400 Triumf air defence system from Russia, who is at the heart of the new US sanctions.
The CAATSA Act was aimed at restricting countries from purchasing significant defence equipment from Russia. However, the act was also having “unintentional” consequences on India which decided to go ahead with the S-400 deal worth around USD 4.5 billion.
The spokesperson also said that the US was fully committed to implement CAATSA which put certain economic sanctions on countries indulging in any kind of trade in the defence and intelligence sectors of Russia.
“This administration is fully committed to implementing CAATSA, including Section 231, which provides for sanctions on any person determined to knowingly engage in a significant transaction with a person that is a part of, or operates for or on behalf of, the defense or intelligence sectors of the Government of the Russian Federation,” the spokesperson added.
The statement from the Trump administration came ahead of the crucial 2+2 dialogue between India and the US scheduled to be held on September 6 in New Delhi.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary James Mattis will visit India and meet their counterparts – Sushma Swaraj and Nirmala Sitharaman – for the first ever 2+2 dialogue.
The issue of CAATSA sanctions would likely to be on the agenda of the meeting. Earlier, the White House had said that no countries, including India and China, would get exemptions from the sanctions.
(With inputs from agencies)