India should be careful while acquiring Russia's S-400 Triumf air defence missile, cautions US Congressman

WION Web Team
Washington, DC, USAUpdated: May 29, 2018, 11:28 AM IST

The Russian-made S-400 air defence missile system. Photograph:(Others)

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The US law is designed to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin for the 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

As India gets set to seal the S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems with Russia for the Indian Air Force, US Republican Congressman Thornberry has cautioned the Modi government asserting that it could complicate US's ability to work on "inter-operability with India".

The  S-400 Triumf air defence missile meant for the Indian Air Force has run into rough weather with US President Trump having signed an act in August last year according to which countries trading with Russia on defense and intelligence sectors would face sanctions.

Republican Congressman Mac Thornberry echoing the Trump administration's view, said: "If there is concern that any country...It's not just India that is looking at acquiring it or any country that requires that system, it will complicate our ability to work on inter-operability together."

"I hope that the Indian government will take its time and consider very carefully in acquiring that system (S-400) because of the difficulties it may present," Thornberry added.

The US law designed to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin for the 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and involvement in the Syrian civil war has put several US allies in a quandary including Indonesia and Vietnam who regularly buy Russian armaments.

The Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CATSA) forbids countries to trade with Russia which is the world’s second-largest arms exporter.

However, Thornberry did concede that the language of the Act makes it difficult for several US allies as it does not allow any "flexibility".

"There is an understanding in the administration and the Congress that some additional flexibility in that law is needed. And it's not just India that's in that situation, there other nations in that," Thornberry observed.

There is apprehension in the US administration that India's S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems deal with Russia worth 40,000-crore could also hurt US interests as India is the No-2 buyer of defense weapons with $15 billion worth arms trade undertaken in the last decade.