The United States proposed a waiver that is intended to prevent India from US sanctions over the military weapon deal with Russia under which, India will buy five S-400 air defence system worth $4.5 billion from Russia.
The States has been stern and firm over the sanctions under which, any nation or entity dealing with 39 Russian defence entities are liable to punitive measures and legal US sanctions. However, the CAATSA act jeopardizes US’ relations with its allies like India, who are willing for procurement of the S-400 air defence system from Russia. To make new provisions for countries like India, the US White House and Senate came up with a flexible and modified U.S. National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA) that will grant Trump administration the authority to waive off ally countries wanting to access Russian defence equipment.
The NDAA is intended to give flexibility to use Russia’s defence weapons without having to compromise the US’ defence and security interests. The final version is expected to exempt three countries – India, Indonesia, and Vietnam from sanctions under CAATSA after it becomes an Act in 2019. However, despite NDAA, these countries can still face the sanctions if they make weapon deals of worth more than $15 million. Which means, if India decides to go ahead with the $4.5 billion S-400 Triumf air defence systems deal with Russia, it could be punished with the United States’ “punitive measures” and sanctions.
However, that is a bridge still quite too far considering the slow-paced Indian decision making, procurement processing, political calculations as well as the transfer of money to Russia for S-400. And in the States, enough number of senators have realised that hurting friends and agitating solid relationships was bad policy and with 2+2 meetings and much more to come ahead, India might as well sneak away from the sanctions despite the S-400 Triumf air defence system deal, dusting CAATSA aside.