The Trump administration has warned of US sanctions against Russia over the purchase of a defense system from India that it claims will have serious implications for defense relations. He said this while assuring that New Delhi “must make a strategic commitment” to the technology platform, but the possibility that India will buy it from Russia is off the table, he said. The US decision to buy a military missile defense system (MDS) from Russia will have “serious implications” for defense relations between the two countries, a senior US diplomat said in New York on Tuesday. It will also have “serious implications” for the strategic relationship between India and the United States, he said, asserting that India must make “a strategic commitment” to the technologies and platforms, while the prospect of buying a military-capable missile defense platform (BMD) for India is “off the table.”
Confident that the US would appreciate their argument, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said India must inform the Trump administration of its decision to acquire the S-400 missile defense system and technology from Russia. In June last year, he told US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that India was violating national interests by negotiating with other countries, including sanctions-hit Russia, to acquire the S-400 missile defense system. India has turned its deals with “other countries” against “national interests,” including Russia, which is under sanctions and from which New Delhi has purchased the S-400 missile defense system, Jaishesankar told Trump’s secretary of state and US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, in New York last month. Jaishedankar had called on US Secretary of State Mike Pence in June last year to act “against India’s national interests,” while “other countries” were involved, including Russia, which has since been “sanctioned and whose missile defense systems were procured by New India.”
MHP rejects and condemns the sanctions decision, “Bahceli said, adding that the sanctions were the first time Washington has imposed sanctions on a NATO ally. Turkey is the “first NATO member” to face US sanctions, the president said in a statement, pointing to “double standards” as Turkey has been slapped with such sanctions by the US and other NATO members as well as the European Union.
In October 2018, India signed a $1.5 billion contract to purchase more than 2,000 F-16 fighter jets from Russia, ignoring the CAATSA law. The United States had warned NATO member Turkey to withdraw from the deal, which is said to cost more than $2 billion, and warned that it could face economic sanctions if the purchase is carried out under the Countering Terrorism Act (CAACSA). India has also signed an agreement with Russia to buy up to 1,500 of the country’s most advanced anti-aircraft systems, though the current treaty has prompted the US to take countermeasures – invitations. In October 2019, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and the European Union (EU) also warned India that it would buy more of Russia’s advanced air-to-air missiles if it continued to comply with the treaty.
The sanctions are not a big surprise, but tensions over the issue have been rising since 2017 when Turkey signed an agreement with Russia to buy the S-400 anti-missile system, which the US believes is designed to shoot down F-35 jets commonly used by NATO allies. An agreement with Turkey to purchase the missile system was concluded in December 2017. The US has suspended the sale of $1.5 billion worth of military equipment to Turkey, fearing that the purchase could jeopardize compliance with CAACSA and other international security agreements.
Even without the NDAA, President Trump has the power to counter that – and to sanction Turkey for buying the defense system. The NDAA Section 1241 would force the US Department of Defense and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to impose sanctions on Turkey.
The NDAA is demanding sanctions against Turkey for its NATO membership, given that Turkey is considered a matter of strict sovereign interest because it exposes the legitimacy of the upcoming US sanctions under CAATSA. While the sanctions impose economic costs on Russia, experts disagree about the impact of the sanctions on its strategic decision-making. Some analysts believe Putin could benefit from US sanctions on Turkey as he seeks to deter Russia’s military buildup in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Turkey has been targeted for its support for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) and other terrorist groups.
The US failure to resolve the conflict in Syria and the ongoing conflict between Russia and Iran in the Middle East and North Africa have, according to some analysts, only helped to curtail these beliefs.
Coercive measures are likely to have a deterrent effect on sanctions once opponents cross the three-wire. They can kill off the prospect of easing the current sanctions and use the threat of new sanctions to achieve this result. The EU has made it clear that sanctions will not be extended to Russia in the event of further violations of international law. These companies should be wary of further, more significant sanctions against Russia by the EU or the US in the future.