US President Donald Trump has said that India would soon “find out” if the punitive CAATSA sanctions apply to it over its USD 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. The mega deal was sealed in New Delhi during the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin for the annual summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
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?”
“India is going to find out,” he said.
Asked when, he said, “You will see. Sooner than you think.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was also in the room when Trump answered the question on CAATSA sanctions. Pompeo was scheduled to meet the president later.
Pompeo and Defence Secretary James Mattis had earlier argued the case for a waiver to India.
Under the CAATSA sanctions, which was amended early this year, only Trump has the authority for the presidential waiver to India on weapons deal with sanctions-hit Russia.
Last week, the White House had said that the US presidential waiver on weapons deal with sanctions-hit Russia is intended to “wean” countries like India off the Russian equipment.
“The (CAATSA presidential) waiver is narrow, intended to wean countries off Russian equipment and allow for things such as spare parts for previously-purchased equipment,” a White House National Security Council Spokesperson had said after the conclusion of the S-400 contract.
The US embassy spokesperson in New Delhi had said that the CAATSA was aimed at Russia and not intended to damage the military capabilities of its “allies and partners.”