In a major relief to India, the United States Congress on Wednesday passed the National Defense Authorisation Act-2019 (NDAA-19) that seeks to amend the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) law that threatens sanctions against countries, including India, buying military equipment from Russia.
“The bill provides waiver relief to key US partners and allies from certain Russian-related sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA),” Defense Secretary James N Mattis said in a statement.
The bill holds significance for India as it had decided to purchase the S-400 Triumf air defence system from Russia that was at the heart of the CAATSA 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.
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After clearing the US Senate by 87 to 10 votes, the NDAA 2019 bill, which had already been passed by the House of Representatives, will now be headed to President Donald Trump.
Besides, the NDAA-19 also capped security aid to Pakistan to USD 150 million, well below than the historic level of more than USD one billion to USD 750 million per year.
The legislation, however, had removed certain conditions like action against Haqqani network or Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) for disbursement of the full aid, which were in place for the past few years.