India and other ‘strategic’ US allies have been granted a waiver from the Countering American Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) according to a report in Daily Beast. A joint conference report by The Senate and National Defense Authorisation Act (NDAA) has modified section 231 of the CAATSA.
The modified act provides waivers to countries like India, who buy arms from Russia. This comes after US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis had asked the Congress to consider giving waiver authority to the Secretary of State, so that cordial relations can be maintained between the US and such nations.
“The fundamental question we must ask ourselves is do we wish to strengthen our partners in key regions or leave them with no other option than to turn to Russia, thereby undermining a once-in-a-generation opportunity to more closely align nations with the US vision for global security and stability," Mattis was quoted to have said.
Under the existing version of the act, India and other countries faced the threat of sanctions from the US, if they made a ‘significant purchase’ of defence equipments from Russia. India had signed a deal with Russia to procure the S-400 air defence systems worth $4.5 billion, which could have been considered as a ‘significant purchase’.
The modified act has to be passed by two chambers of the Congress, before being signed by President Donald Trump to become a law. It is expected to pass through easily, as both Republicans and Democrats have not expressed any opposition to it.
Earlier, some US lawmakers had cautioned the adverse effects of sanctions on India under CAATSA.
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