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."
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.
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.