The US State Department has warned its "allies and partners" that they will face sanctions if they choose to go ahead with the acquisition of Russian military equipment, the Indian English daily The Hindu reported.
“We urge all of our allies and partners to forgo transactions with Russia that risk triggering sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA),” a State Department spokesman told The Hindu.
The comment was made shortly after Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said that New Delhi has always maintained that sourcing of its military equipment was very much a “sovereign right” and expressed hope that Washington would understand the country's decision to buy Russian S-400 missile defence systems.
India and Russia signed a $5.43 billion contract for the purchase of five S-400 missile defence systems, despite US threats to slap sanctions on any country that buys from Russia’s defence sector under CAATSA.
Unless US President Donald Trump grants a waiver, the Indian deal could trigger sanctions when the first payment for the equipment is made. The State Department said that the government has not made any decision on possible action under CAATSA; however, India and Russia are believed to have found a permanent payment mechanism, which they believe would circumvent possible US sanctions.
This summer, Russia completed its delivery of the first batch of the S-400 systems to Turkey, pursuant to a deal concluded in 2017. After Ankara made it clear earlier in the year that it would proceed with the deal, Washington suspended the deliveries of F-35 jets to Turkey, warning of further sanctions to follow. Turkey plans to activate the S-400 systems in April 2020.