WASHINGTON: A top Republican Senator has said that imposing CAATSA sanctions on India for buying the multi-billion-dollar S-400 missile system from Russia would be a geostrategic victory for Moscow.
Senator Todd Young, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, wrote in the Foreign Policy magazine that if the Joe Biden administration imposes sanctions on India, it would weaken two strategic fronts at a critical time — undermine Washington’s relationship with India and also affect the QUAD’s ability to counter China.
Quad — comprising Japan, India, Australia and the United States — aims at developing a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any influence.
Yong said on Monday that in recent weeks, the Democratic chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Senator Bob Menendez called for India to be threatened with sanctions under Section 231 of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) if it moves forward with the purchase of the Russian missile system.
Section 231 imposes sanctions on entities that “operate for or on behalf of” Russian defense or intelligence sectors.
“It would not deter India’s purchase of the S-400 (missile) system. Given India’s historical skepticism of international cooperation and long-standing ties with Russia, any sanctions would be amplified and leveraged by those within India who remain trepidatious about deeper engagement with the West, such as the Non-Aligned Movement, Young wrote in the magazine.
“Moreover, Russia could take advantage of the sanctions to reclaim its role as India’s military partner of choice. Paradoxically then, sanctioning New Delhi over its Russian-made defence system would actually prove to be a geostrategic victory for Moscow,” Young wrote in the magazine.
Alternatively, he urged the Biden Administration to give CAATSA waiver to India. The waiver is intended at preventing US sanctions on countries like India.
“By invoking the waiver authority and allowing India’s purchase of Russian weaponry, the Biden administration can make clear that China is the primary geostrategic threat to the United States.
“As the United States acknowledges that fact, the White House must then prioritize — in word and deed — relationships with those countries critical to meeting that threat head-on. By doing so, all Quad countries will benefit,” Young said.
Source: Press Trust of India