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What is the S-400 deal? Why is India cautious as US sanctions Turkey?

Topics Covered: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

What is the S-400 deal? Why is India cautious as US sanctions Turkey?


Context:

The United States has imposed sanctions (Under CAATSA) on Turkey over Ankara’s acquisition of Russian S-400 air defence systems.

 What is the S-400 air defence missile system? Why does India need it?

  • The S-400 Triumf is a mobile, surface-to-air missile system (SAM) designed by Russia.
  • It is the most dangerous operationally deployed modern long-range SAM (MLR SAM) in the world, considered much ahead of the US-developed Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD).
  • India’s acquisition is crucial to counter attacks in a two-front war, including even high-end F-35 US fighter aircraft.

What is CAATSA, and how did the S-400 deal fall foul of this Act?

Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA)‘s core objective is to counter Iran, Russia and North Korea through punitive measures.

  • The Act primarily deals with sanctions on Russian interests such as its oil and gas industry, defence and security sector, and financial institutions, in the backdrop of its military intervention in Ukraine and its alleged meddling in the 2016 US Presidential elections.

But why does the US have a law like CAATSA to begin with?

  • Following the US elections and allegations of Russian meddling some call it collusion in the US elections, the strain between Washington and Moscow has reached a new level.
  • Angry with Moscow’s actions around the world, US lawmakers are hoping to hit Russia where it hurts most, its defense and energy business, through CAATSA.

And what does it mean for India’s defence landscape?

As per the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Arms Transfer Database, during the period 2010-17, Russia was the top arms supplier to India.

  • Most of India’s weapons are of Soviet/Russian origin – nuclear submarine INS Chakra, the Kilo-class conventional submarine, the supersonic Brahmos cruise missile, the MiG 21/27/29 and Su-30 MKI fighters, IL-76/78 transport planes, T-72 and T-90 tanks, Mi-series of helicopters, and Vikramaditya aircraft carrier
  • Therefore, CAATSA impacts Indo-US ties and dents the image of the US as a reliable partner.

While India has got a waiver from the outgoing Trump administration on the S-400 air defence system, Delhi hopes that the incoming Biden administration would not work towards reversing the decision.

us_vs_russia

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. CAATSA is associated with?
  2. Powers of US president under CAATSA.
  3. Types of sanctions that can be imposed.
  4. Significant defence deals between India and Russia.
  5. Overview of Iran Nuclear deal.

Mains Link:

Discuss the features and significance of CAATSA.

Sources: Indian Express.