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    US Congress votes to waive sanctions against India over S-400 missile deal with Russia

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    US Congress votes to waive sanctions against India over S-400 missile deal with Russia

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    CAATSA is a strict US law that authorises the federal administration to impose sanctions on countries that purchase major defence hardware from Russia, enacted in response to Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014 and its alleged meddling in the 2016 US presidential elections.

    The US House of Representatives has passed a legislative amendment by voice vote to waive punitive sanctions against India under CAATSA (Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) for the latter's purchase of the S-400 missile defence system from Russia.
    The legislative amendment was passed on Thursday during floor consideration of the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA). This bill was introduced by Indian-American Congressman Ro Khanna and the amendment urged the Biden administration to provide a CAATSA waiver to help deter aggressors like China.
    "The United States must stand with India in the face of escalating aggression from China. As Vice Chair of the India Caucus, I have been working to strengthen the partnership between our countries and ensure that India can defend itself along the Indian Chinese border," said Khanna, the US representative from California's 17th congressional district.
    "This amendment is of the utmost importance, and I am proud to see it pass the House on a bipartisan basis," he added. The law was brought in 2017 and provides for punitive actions by the US government against any country engaged in transactions with the Russian defence and intelligence sectors.
    CAATSA is a strict US law that authorises the federal administration to impose sanctions on countries that purchase major defence hardware from Russia, enacted in response to Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014 and its alleged meddling in the 2016 US presidential elections.
    India signed a $5 billion deal with Russia to buy five units of the S-400 air defence missile systems in October 2018, despite a threat of US sanctions.
    The S-400 is known as Russia's most advanced long-range surface-to-air missile defence system. There were wide speculations about India after the US has already imposed sanctions on Turkey under the CAATSA for the purchase of a batch of S-400 missile defence systems from Russia.
    The US has not yet made any decision on potential sanctions or waivers to India under CAATSA for its purchase of the S-400 missile defence system from Russia, Secretary of State Antony Blinken had said in April. The Ministry of External Affairs has said that India was pursuing an independent foreign policy and its defence acquisitions are guided by its national security interests.
    In his remarks on the House floor, Khanna said there is no relationship of greater significance to US strategic interests than the US-India partnership. "My bipartisan NDAA amendment marks the most significant piece of legislation for US-India relations out of Congress since the US-India nuclear deal," Khanna, a Democrat, said.
    The legislation says that the United States-India Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (ICET) is a welcome and essential step to developing closer partnerships between governments, academia, and industry in the two countries to address the latest advances in artificial intelligence, quantum computing, biotechnology, aerospace, and semiconductor manufacturing.
    With inputs from PTI
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