The Russian envoy to India Nikolay Kudashev Thursday said the US sanctions under Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) are “instrument of political pressure and unfair competition” but he hoped that they will not pose a challenge to India-Russia defence deals. He expressed hope that New Delhi and Moscow could soon sign agreements on frigates and Kalashnikov assault rifles in the next 2 to 3 months.
Describing the recently-inked USD 5.4 billion S-400 missile defence system deal as the “largest contract” in the history of India-Russia ties, he said it was one of the “speediest” agreements to be signed between the two countries and there were no protracted negotiations.
The implementation of the contract, signed during President Vladimir Putin’s visit from October 4-5, would start in 2020 and would last for five years, he said. “In the coming months, you can expect more deals. Talks are on, this is the normal process. We hope that within two-three months… We could soon have a deal on frigates, it is very much on the agenda of the two sides, and we could soon have a deal on the Kalashnikov assault rifles,” the envoy told a select group of journalists here.
“Yes,” Kudashev said emphatically, when asked whether it would be right to state that Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act or CAATSA would not put pressure on India and Russia for further defence deals.
His remarks come just a day after US President Donald Trump said India would soon “find out” if the punitive CAATSA sanctions apply to it over its US$ 5 billion deal with Russia to purchase the S-400 Triumf air defence system.
Asked about the playing down of the S-400 missile defence system deal, Kudashev said the relationship between the two countries is very close and military and technical part of it is important, but it need not be interpreted as a defining one.
“The visit was about growing connectivity politically, economically, militarily in a humanitarian way, multi- dimensional… It was not about arms race, it was not about countering CAATSA, with its own CAATSA. The agenda was unifying, it was peaceful…” he said.
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On why the S-400 deal was not signed publicly, the Russian envoy said under Russian rules and protocol, agreements are done before or on the sidelines of talks not necessarily in the presence of leaders. Kudashev said India and the Russia should consider signing pacts such as the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) and Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA), inked between Delhi and Washington. He also said there was no need for concern about Russia’s relationship with Pakistan, since Moscow will not develop ties with Islamabad at the cost of its relations with Delhi.
‘India will soon find out’: Trump on US sanctions
US President Donald Trump has said that India would soon “find out” if the punitive CAATSA sanctions apply to it over its US$ 5 billion deal with Russia to purchase the S-400 Triumf air defence system. The Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act or CAATSA is a US federal law that imposed sanctions on Iran, North Korea and Russia.
In Russia’s case, the act primarily deals with sanctions on Russian interests such as its oil and gas industry, defence and security sector, and financial institutions, in the backdrop of its military intervention in Ukraine and its alleged meddling in the 2016 US Presidential elections. India last week inked a deal to purchase the S-400 Triumf air defence system from Moscow.
Asked about the agreement between India and Russia, Trump while interacting with reporters in the Oval Office of the White House on Wednesday, said, “India will find out. Aren’t they?” Asked when, he said, “You will see. Sooner than you think.” Under the CAATSA sanctions, amended early this year, only Trump has authority for the presidential waiver to India on weapons deal with sanctions-hit Russia. (PTI)