India to Respond to US Refusal for Sanctions Waiver Over S-400 – Strategist

© Sputnik / Alexey MalgavkoThe S-400 Triumf anti-air missile system
The S-400 Triumf anti-air missile system - Sputnik International
India has made it clear that it is going ahead with its plan to purchase the S-400 Triumph air defense missile systems from Russia and that it will not be deterred by the US' unilateral sanctions. India has also expressed itself similarly over the US sanctions on Iran by continuing to buy oil from the country.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — As the US has brushed aside all speculations regarding the possibility of granting a sanctions waiver to India to facilitate the latter's purchase of the S-400 Triumph air defense missile systems from Russia, an Indian strategist has opined that the US' strategy could be counterproductive given the fact that India is a huge market for its own defense equipment.  

READ MORE: No Plans to Curtail Engagements with Russia — Indian Foreign Ministry

"US sanctions will not go un-responded. At stake for the US are Chinook helicopters and naval airborne systems. The US is the second largest supplier of military equipment to India and the value is quite big. Sanctions are a two street. I think the Pentagon official threat is empty bombast and the reaction here will be accordingly," Mohan Guruswamy, a strategic analyst, told Sputnik.

An S-400 air defense missile system - Sputnik International
US Exempts India From Sanctions Over Purchase of Russian S-400s - Reports
Randall Schriver, the US assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, said on August 29 during an event in Washington that the S-400 "is a system that's particularly troubling for a lot of reasons, and I think our strong preference…. is to seek alternatives."

"If they (India) choose to go down that route, like I said, I can't sit here and tell you today that the waiver will necessarily be used," Schriver said.

The statement comes amid a common perception in India that the recent amendment in Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) was meant to provide the waiver to New Delhi in the S-400 missile defense system deal expected to be signed later this year. But "that's a bit misleading," Schriver clarified.

READ MORE: Russia, India Solving Problems Over Payments for Current Defense Contracts

Nevertheless, India has already made it clear that US sanctions would not deter it from making crucial purchases from Russia. Indian Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, on July 13 during a media interaction, termed CAATSA as an American law and not a UN law and that India will go ahead with the S-400 Triumph air defense missile systems deal.

"India-Russia defense cooperation is one of the important pillars [of] our ties. Government is leaving no stone unturned to protect India-Russia defense deals. The government will raise the issue with the US during the upcoming two plus talks in New Delhi. As far as the S-400 deal is concerned it is in the conclusive stage. CAATSA will not impact the S-400 air defense missile system deal with Russia," a government source told Sputnik.

"The US has basically transferred defensive military systems, while Russia has sold India offensive weapons, including a nuclear-powered submarine and an aircraft carrier," said Brahma Chellaney, a New Delhi-based geo-strategist, pointing out the reason behind India's stance on the S-400 deal.

Indian Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, center right, shakes hands with U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis center, upon his arrival at the Defense Ministry office, in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017 - Sputnik International
India's Defense Minister on S-400 Deal: US Laws Don't Apply to New Delhi
As the development comes only a week ahead of the historic 2+2 ministerial dialogue with India, it is being speculated that the Pentagon's statement about refusing to guarantee on sanctions may also create uneasiness in dialogue scheduled for September 6 in New Delhi.

"The 2+2 meeting is mostly optics now and nothing major is on the agenda anyway," Mohan Guruswamy added.

The meeting, which was postponed twice, will be attended by the foreign ministers and defense ministers of the two countries. Several crucial decisions, including that of the much awaited Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement, are expected to be taken up during the meet.

READ MORE: India Discusses With EU Ways to Bypass US Sanctions, Keep Buying Iranian Oil

"Why is it that, in the run-up to any important summit or high-level meeting, India agrees to make a key concession to the other side? And why is [it] that the other side doesn't feel similarly pressured to make a concession to India? Isn't reciprocity the first principle of diplomacy?" Brahma Chellaney told Sputnik.

The final draft of the COMCASA has long been pending, given India's skepticism over a number of pressing concerns, ranging from the viability of the defense equipment purchased under the pact in case of any hiccups in bilateral relations to the question of whether the American side will use the access it gets to the military communications system for spying on India.

The views and opinions expressed by the speakers do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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