External affairs minister S Jaishankar has said that the US has been told about India’s decision to purchase S-400 missile system from Russia and hoped that the Trump administration will understand India’s rationale.
“India has decided on the S-400 and we have discussed that with the US government. I am reasonably convinced of the powers of my persuasion (sic),” said Jaishankar, who is on a three-day US visit.
Asked about possible US sanctions if India goes ahead with the defense deal, Jaishankar hoped “people understand why this particular transaction is important”.
In 2018, India had agreed to buy five S-400 systems for $5.4 billion from Russia. The US, under a 2017 law, imposes sanctions on countries that involve in “major” arms purchases from Russia. Washington’s sanctions are over Russia’s military involvement in Ukraine and Syria.
The US has already acted against Turkey and China for acquiring the S-400. The Trump administration had ended Turkey’s involvement in the F-35 fighter jet deal after the missile system deal. The curbs are imposed under Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
Yesterday, Jaishankar, just ahead of his meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, had said that “sourcing of military equipment” is very much a “sovereign right”. He insisted on India’s “freedom of choice” and said it was everybody’s interest to recognize it.
“We would not like any state to tell us what to buy or not to buy from Russia any more than we would like any state to tell us to buy or not buy from America,” he said.
India had signed a $5.43-billion deal to buy five S-400s which is Russia’s most advanced long-range surface-to-air missile defense system and the delivery is expected to be completed by 2020.
In June this year, the Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation said that the delivery of the S-400 to India is planned to start after 2020 and payment issues have been resolved.
Source: Hindustan Times