Business & Defence

US Congressman Ro Khanna Has Introduced A Bill To Give India An Exemption From CAATSA

Story Highlights
  • The resolution, which has the support of Congressmen Brad Sherman, David Schweikert, and Khanna, has been sent to the House Foreign Affairs Committee for further action.
  • According to the resolution, Congress thinks that the United States-India Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (ICET) is a good way for governments

Indian-American Congressman Ro Khanna has introduced a bill in the US House of Representatives to exempt India from the harsh CAATSA sanctions. He says that it is in both countries’ best interests to stop “aggressors,” like Russia and China, from doing bad things.

The Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) is a strict US law that lets the US government punish countries that buy major military equipment from Russia. This is in response to Moscow’s 2014 takeover of Crimea and its alleged interference in the 2016 US presidential election.

Along with Khanna, Congressmen Brad Sherman and David Schweikert also backed the resolution. It has now been sent to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which will take the next steps.

“While India has immediate needs to maintain its heavily Russian-built weapons systems, a waiver to sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act during this transition period is in the best interests of the United States and the United States-India defence partnership to deter aggressors in light of the close relationship between Russia and China,” it said.

This summer, Khanna, a Democrat, proposed a similar change to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). It was passed by the House with support from both parties.

“I first brought this up as a change to the National Defense Authorization Act. Now, I’m proud to bring it up as a separate bill to keep building momentum and support for it. We need to pass this so that the relationship between the US and India gets stronger and so that China and other aggressors are scared off.

The resolution says that China is a serious and immediate threat to India’s border, and that China’s government is continuing to use military force along the border between India and China.

India has already started getting the S-400 missile defence system from Russia, but US President Joe Biden hasn’t decided what to do about the CAATSA waiver sanctions. Under the laws that are already in place, the president can give a country a national interest waiver.

Khanna said that this bill is a strong way to show that the US and India are working together on defence.

The resolution points out that India’s national defence depends on Russian-made weapons. It says that the United States should take more steps to encourage India to speed up its move away from Russian-made weapons and defence systems while still strongly supporting India’s immediate defence needs.

Congress thinks that a strong defence partnership between the United States and India that is based on shared democratic values is important to advance U.S. interests in the Indo-Pacific region.

This partnership between the world’s oldest and biggest democracies is very important and needs to keep getting stronger. This is because there are more and more threats in the Indo-Pacific region, and it sends a clear message that sovereignty and international law must be respected.

The CAATSA law was passed in 2017 and says that the US government can punish any country that does business with Russia’s defence or intelligence sectors.

India signed a deal with Russia in October 2018 to buy five S-400 air defence missile systems. This was despite a warning from the Trump administration at the time that going through with the deal could lead to US sanctions. The S-400 is the most advanced surface-to-air missile defence system with a long range that Russia has.

Under the CAATSA, the US has already put Turkey on a list of countries that can’t buy weapons from the US. This is because Turkey bought S-400 missile defence systems from Russia.

According to the resolution, Congress thinks that the United States-India Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (ICET) is a good way for governments, universities, and businesses in the United States and India to work together to deal with the latest developments in artificial intelligence, quantum computing, biotechnology, aerospace, and semiconductor manufacturing.

According to the resolution, it is important for engineers and computer scientists to work together to help the United States, India, and other democracies around the world foster innovation and make technological advances that continue to be far ahead of those in Russia and China.

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