External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Tuesday that India has apprised the Trump Administration of its decision to purchase S-400 missile system from Russia. “India has made a decision on the S-400 and we have discussed that with the US government. I am reasonably convinced of the powers of my persuasion (sic), Jaishankar said, responding to a question from a Russian journalist on the possibilities of US sanctions on India under CAATSA as it goes ahead with its decision to purchase S-400 Triumph missile defence system from the Russia,” S Jaishankar said.
“It would be my hope that people understand why this particular transaction is important for us, so I think of your question to me is hypothetical, Jaishankar said, during his appearance at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a Washington DC-based top American think tank,” he added.
India agreed to buy five S-400 systems for 5.2 billion dollars last year. Russia has said that delivery is on track with the first system expected to come online in 2020.
Under a 2017 law called Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), the United States imposes sanctions against countries over "major" arms purchases from Russia due to Moscow’s military involvement in Ukraine and Syria and alleged meddling in US elections.
But CAATSA allows a president to waive the sanctions for US allies, as long as he can prove they have an expanding military relationship and are decreasing their overall weapons imports from Russia. It remains to be seen how the Trump administration will proceed.
Jaishankar on Monday downplayed the notion that CAATSA could be used against New Delhi. Jaishankar also emphasized India’s growing military ties with the United States.
"We had until 15 years ago, virtually no defense relationship," he said. But since then India has bought an expanding range of US-made systems, including C-17 and C-130 aircraft, Chinook and Apache helicopters, and American artillery and Navy ships.