08:55 GMT03 August 2021
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    New Delhi reiterated Thursday that it would not recognize sanctions imposed by entities apart from the United Nations, and vowed to continue cooperation with Russia in a broad range of diverse sectors amid US threats to penalize countries which do business with Moscow.

    US Congress has passed its 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, granting India a waiver against punitive sanctions on countries who do business with the Russian defense industry, the Times of India has reported.

    The bill, which now heads to President Trump's desk for signature, grants India a waiver under section 231 of the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, a 2017 law drafted in response to Russia's alleged (and as yet unproven) interference in the 2016 US presidential election. 

    Joshua White, a former US National Security Council senior official, told the India's PTI news agency that the CAATSA waiver "should provide ample flexibility for New Delhi to proceed with the purchase of the Russian S-400 system."

    "The legislative language is designed to look very tough, as though Congress is tightening its secondary sanctions on countries that procure Russian equipment. In reality, the language contains loopholes that benefit India," White explained.

    India indicated this week that it has no plans to axe its S-400 deal with Russia, and announced plans to send a delegation of senior military officials to Washington to hear out the US's concerns, which Delhi has dismissed as "groundless." The US earlier voiced concerns that its military platforms could be hacked if they were used alongside Russian equipment.

    Russia and India reached the final stage of talks on a $6 billion deal for the delivery of S-400s to New Delhi last month, with India set to become the third buyer of the advanced air defense system after China and Turkey. 

    The 2019 NDAA calls on US allies and partners to reduce their inventory of Russian-made defense equipment, including advanced weaponry, and demands certifiable steps confirming these reductions. US Secretary of Defense James Mattis warned last month that excessive US pressure on its allies and partners would leave some countries "with no other option than to turn to Russia" for its defense needs.

    On Thursday, Indian Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh indicated that New Delhi had no plans to curtail cooperation with Moscow, including in the fields of economic, scientific, technological, energy and cultural cooperation, as well as banking.


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