India's decision to buy Russian S-400 air defence systems could hinder the country's future defence cooperation with the US, including the supplies of modern military equipment, India’s NDTV reported citing an anonymous senior State Department official. The source argued the view that the purchase of S-400s "isn't a big deal" is erroneous.
"I disagree. The S-400 is significant because of CAATSA sanctions. It is also significant because of what it precludes, in terms of future high-tech cooperation", the official said.
The official noted that exemption from CAATSA sanctions are not automatically granted, but rather reviewed individually for each case; hence India is not entirely protected from falling under them.
The media's source further added that India is going to face the same "very serious conversation" that Washington is currently having with Turkey, who also decided to buy Russia’s air defence system.
"We don't commingle highest technology systems. There are threats posed by the purchase of an S-400. So that conversation you are seeing played out in Turkey right now", the source said.
The State Department official also hinted that "certain choices" India makes, allegedly referring to the procurement of S-400s, could "preclude other" options for it. Namely, ongoing discussions between the two states on the sale of "combat aircraft" and other "advanced systems" might be affected.
India inked a $5 billion deal with Russia to procure S-400 air defence systems in October 2018, following China and Turkey. The latter's choice faced major opposition from the US, who threatened to halt supplies of F-35 jets already ordered. What is more, US officials have warned that Ankara might face sanctions and may even be booted from NATO over the decision to buy defence systems from Moscow.
Ankara slammed US rhetoric and noted that Washington had a chance to sell its Patriots to Turkey, but failed to make a lucrative offer. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly stated that his country will not back off on the S-400 procurement.