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US Can’t Arm-Twist India

– Russian Media The United States will not be able to influence India’s purchases of Russian S-400 anti-aircraft systems, which could be announced during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s October visit, as well as all future defense deals between the two countries, two sources in the Indian military and diplomatic circles told Izvestia. According to one of them, military cooperation between New Delhi and Moscow meets Indian national interests, and the country’s authorities are not going to abandon it due to outside pressure.

The agreement on acquiring Russia’s anti-aircraft missile systems was reached during talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in October 2016. The following summer, the United States passed the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). This piece of legislation, in particular, threatened countries purchasing Russian weapons with secondary sanctions. However, an exception was made for India – given the decline of arms purchases in Russia, and considering New Delhi’s cooperation with the US government on other issues. As a result, Washington turned a blind eye to the S-400 deal.

“India has very clearly explained to the US that it will not tolerate interference in its relations with Russia. Washington made concessions with respect to CAATSA, given India’s deep strategic interests in the defense sector and New Delhi’s interest in continuing its time-tested relationship with Moscow,” a source in India’s military circles told Izvestia.

Another source in India’s diplomatic community was confident that the deal would be signed. “India categorically told the United States that Russia is a strategic partner, with a strong and multifaceted relationship from the time of our independence. Most of our defense weapons are from Russia. Now the country badly needs the S-400 anti-missile defense system to ensure security,” the source told Izvestia.

“Trump has no leverage to twist India’s arms, since we do not get any loans or economic help from them (the Americans). However, the US needs India as a strategic partner for balancing an assertive China, and as a huge consumer market and arms market. Therefore, I believe that US hysteria will not affect the S-400 deal and other major contracts,” a retired Indian military officer told the newspaper.