U.S. slams Russia over S-400 deals

Military Affairs envoy says Moscow is exploiting countries’ security requirements A month after External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said he was “reasonably convinced” that he could persuade the U.S. of India’s decision to buy the S-400 Russian missile defence system, the top U.S. diplomat for Political Military Affairs, Clarke Cooper, called out Russia and China for exploiting countries’ security requirements. He also made a strong pitch for the U.S. being the defence partner of choice. Countries like Russia and China are using arms sales and security assistance to weaken the U.S.’s global influence and strengthen their own, Mr. Cooper said, at the Meridian International Center, a Washington-based think-tank on Thursday. “Through the targeted marketing of systems like the S-400, Russia seeks to exploit the genuine security requirements of partners to create challenges in our ability — legal and technological — to provide them with the most advanced defensive capabilities.” India had decided to buy the S-400 for $5.2 billion in 2018 — a decision that could potentially attract U.S. sanctions under a law called Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). While the U.S. President has the authority to grant waivers under various conditions, the administration has repeatedly (including earlier in October in response to Mr. Jaishankar’s comments) cautioned countries, including India, that it is at risk of sanctions if it goes ahead with the Russian deal. However, Mr. Cooper said on Thursday that there was no “blanket application” of CAATSA laws. “It can be scalable depending on what the issue is, scalable as far as application of when it’s issued, timeline-wise, and to what sections would be applied where.” The U.S. has warned Turkey, a NATO ally that is buying the S-400, of CAATSA sanctions, though these have not yet been imposed. Turkey was, however, kicked out of a programme to build American F-35 jets, in July this year. Mr. Clarke clarified that CAATSA was not intended to target historical “sustainment” lines countries had with Moscow but designed to “mitigate new significant acquisitions”.

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-international/us-slams-russia-over-s-400-deals/article29848365.ece

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