Washington, DC – The United States opined on Thursday (Mar. 29) that India would be free to decide whether it wanted to deal with Russia to purchase S-400 Triumf long-range surface-to-air missile systems.
Dana White, the US Department of Defense spokesperson made the observation at the regular Pentagon briefing while answering a question about application of the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” (CAATSA), which among other things, imposes new sanctions on Iran, Russia, and North Korea.
When asked about the possible consequences if Delhi inked a deal with Moscow to purchase the weapons systems, spokesperson White told the Pentagon journalists, “Ultimately, those decisions are sovereign decisions, and so those are decisions that India has to make for itself.”
India is in negotiations with Russia for the $5 billion-plus purchase of five S-400 missile systems. The ball started rolling in 2016 when visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed an intergovernmental agreement on the sale of the S-400 systems during a bilateral summit in October 2016 in the western Indian state of Goa.
Although the US Treasury Department follows the CAATSA, it might be noted that on its website it says, “Differing foreign policy and national security objectives may result in differing interpretations of similar language among the three titles (Iran, Russia and North Korea) of CAATSA.”