Washington: Pointing out India’s reliance on Russian military exports for its national defence, especially amid Chinese aggression at its borders, American Congressman Ro Khanna has said a waiver of Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) is in the best interest of the US and the US-India defence partnership.

Under the CAATSA, the US imposes sanctions on those countries that have “significant transactions with Iran, North Korea or Russia”.

India had inked the USD 5.43 billion deal with Russia for five squadrons of S-400s in October 2018. Although as per a top official under President Joe Biden’s administration earlier, the United States has not made a final decision on sanctions on India for its acquisition of the S-400 missile system from Russia under the CAATSA.

Khanna introduced an amendment that said, “US should take additional steps to encourage India to accelerate India’s transition of Russian-built weapons and defence systems while strongly supporting India’s immediate defence needs.”

Sources familiar with the matter appear reasonably confident of a waiver to India from the Biden administration because of the improved strategic relations between the two countries.

Congressman Khanna stressed on the border threats that India faces from China and its reliance on Russian-built weapons. “Congress recognizes that India faces immediate and serious regional border threats from China, with continued military aggression by the Government of China along the India-China border.”

Khanna said, “India relies on Russian-built weapons for its national defence, and the United States should take additional steps.”

In a proposal to an amendment of Rules Committee Print 117-54, the Democrat leader and US representative from California said that “while India faces immediate needs to maintain its heavily Russian-built weapons systems, a waiver to sanctions under the Countering 3 America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act during this 4 transition period is in the best interests of the United States and the US-India defence partnership to deter aggressors in light of Russia and China’s close partnership.”

The American politician with Indian heritage pointed out that a strong United States-India defence partnership is rooted in shared democratic values and is critical in order to advance United States interests in the Indo-Pacific region.

He further noted that this partnership between the world’s oldest and largest democracies is critical and must continue to be strengthened in response to increasing threats in the Indo-Pacific regions, sending an unequivocal signal that sovereignty and international law must be respected.

Khanna also emphasized on the significance of the US-India Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET).

“The Congress finds that the United States-India Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET) is a welcome and essential step to developing closer partnerships between governments, academia, and industry in the United States and India to address the latest advances in artificial intelligence, quantum computing, biotechnology, aerospace, 3 and semiconductor manufacturing. Such collaborations between engineers and computer scientists are vital to help ensure that the United States and India, as well as other democracies around the world, foster innovation and facilitate technological advances which continue to far outpace Russian and Chinese technology.”

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