S-400 missile deal with India highlights Russia's destabilizing role: US
Irked by Russia's sale of the S-400 missile defense system to India, the US has said it highlights the "destabilizing role" played by Moscow. Expressing concerns over the deal, Ned Price, the spokesperson for the US State Department, said that "it shines a spotlight on the destabilizing role that Russia is playing not only in the region but potentially beyond as well."
- The US continues to express dissatisfaction with the multi-billion India-Russia S-400 missile deal.
- Notably, India has stated on numerous occasions that its actions were in the interest of safeguarding national security.
- However, the US's Countering Americas Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) permits the country to impose sanctions on nations with economic and defense ties to Iran, Russia, and North Korea.
Price was responding to a question on the implications of India's procurement of the missile system on its ties with the US. "When it comes to CAATSA sanctions...we haven't made a determination with regard to this transaction, but it's something we continue to discuss with the government of India given the risk of sanctions for this particular transaction under CAATSA," he told reporters.
"Whether it is India, whether it is any other country, we continue to urge all countries to avoid major new transactions for Russian weapon systems," Price said. He added there is no "timeline to offer" regarding the sanctions and the issues are being discussed with India. Notably, despite strong resistance from the Joe Biden administration, India is moving ahead with procurement.
Earlier, US Senator Todd Young said India is a critical ally against China and the US should resist any actions that might drive it away from the US and the Quad, a multilateral grouping comprising Japan and Australia apart from India and the US. "I am therefore strongly supportive of waiving CAATSA sanctions against India, given our shared foreign policy interests," he said.
Meanwhile, amid the growing Chinese threat, India plans to deploy the first unit of the S-400 missile defense system by April. Official sources cited by WION said all five units will be installed in strategic areas to counter the China threat. Two S-400 systems have already arrived in India as advance consignments. By 2022 end, the first squadron deliveries are expected to be completed.
The S-400 missile defense system has four distinct missiles. At distances of 400km, 250km, 120km, and 40km, it can fight hostile aircraft, ballistic missiles, and AWACS planes. With the massive range, the air defense system would provide India an advantage in the South Asian airways. Indian Air Force teams have been trained by Russia for assembling and maintaining the systems.