In 2018, India signed the $5 billion S-400 Air Defence System deal with Russia. This was despite the relatively recent denomination of ‘Major Defence Partner’ status with the United States in 2016. But the environmental dynamics were different as a Republican (traditionally more pro-India on security) President i.e., Donald Trump, was in the White House and the Russia-Ukraine war had not broken out. Despite Trump’s kneejerk threat of a US reaction, ‘India is soon going to find out’, his Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and the Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, had quietly played down the issue, contextualising India’s strategic compulsions. At stakes were the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) imperatives that sought to sanction any nation that engaged in major defense deals with Russia, Iran or North Korea (amongst other factors). With India purchasing the sophisticated S-400 Air Defence System from Russia ~ it was tantamount to seriously red flagging the CAATSA provisions. (Read More)
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