India-Russia S-400 Deal: Two US senators have agreed to buy the S-400 military missile system from Russia by India. US Senators and India Caucus co-chairs Mark Warner and John Cornyn have sent a letter to President Joe Biden asking for a relaxation of sanctions on India. US Senators Mark Warner and John Cornyn have urged President Biden to waive the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) sanctions against India. India had signed an agreement with Russia for the purchase of five S-400 military weapons during the 19th India-Russia Annual Bilateral Summit in New Delhi on 5 October 2019 for long-term security needs. The S-400 is a surface-to-air missile system. India signed a USD 5.43 billion agreement with Russia for the purchase of this weapon.
What did the senators write in the letter?
In a letter to US President Joe Biden, Senators Mark Warner and John Cornyn urged the President that keeping in mind the national interest under CAATSA, India should be exempted from its provisions. Both US senators said in a letter to the President that doing so is also in America’s national security interest. In the letter, the two senators wrote, “We understand your concern about the purchase of Russian military weapons. The senators said they shared the administration’s concerns with regard to the purchase of Russian equipment and continued Indian integration, but it is in America’s interest to allow India to purchase military weapons, and that we will engage constructively with India to build a Russian missile system. Will continue to strongly support the purchase options.
History of India buying arms from Russia
The US administration indicated that Russian S-400 systems could trigger CAATSA sanctions. US senators also believe that India has taken important steps to reduce the purchase of Russian military equipment. However, it has a long history of buying arms from the Soviet Union and later Russia. In 2018, India formally agreed to buy the Russian S-400 Triumph air-defense system. This agreement has been reached between the two after signing a preliminary agreement with Russia two years ago.
US senators say such transactions between New Delhi and Moscow were on the decline when they shared the administration’s concerns regarding the purchase of Russian equipment and continued Indian integration. We strongly urge you to grant CAATSA exemption to India for the planned purchase of the S-400 surface-to-air missile system, the senators told the President. US Senators Mark Warner and John Cornyn believe that exemptions in such cases will promote America’s national security interests.
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