Two members of the US Senate have requested President Joe Biden to not sanction India for purchasing military equipment from Russia based on legislation known as CAATSA (Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act), NDTV reported.
Both senators, Mark Warner and John Cornyn, are the co-chairs of the India Caucus of the Senate.
CAATSA is a US legislation that sanctions Russia and permits the US government to impose sanctions on states that buy weapons from Russia.
It was enacted as a response to the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014 and alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US elections.
They wrote a letter to Biden in which they acknowledged that India has bought weapons from Russia in the past, but insist that the State Department not sanction India and rather express its concerns regarding Indo-Russia arms deals and "constructively to continue supporting alternatives to their purchasing Russian equipment."
India had signed a $5.43-billion deal with Russia and bought five S-400 surface-air-missile systems in October 2019, citing long-term security requirements, The Hindu reported.
US officials had already warned that any deal concerning the Russian S-400 systems would require CAATSA sanctions to be imposed on India.
But both senators argued that "while India has taken significant steps to reduce its purchases of Russian military equipment, it has a long history of purchasing arms from the Soviet Union, and later Russia."
Warner and Cornyn warned that that while CAATSA will be triggered because of the latest purchase, "the application of CAATSA sanctions could have a deleterious effect on a strategic partnership with India, while at the same time, not achieve the intended purpose of deterring Russian arms sales.”
The Senate India caucus, is the caucus in the Senate that focuses particularly on one country.
(With inputs from NDTV and The Hindu)
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