US looks to ‘balance’ India’s S-400 missile systems needs vis-a-vis Caatsa

US President Joe Biden’s nominee for coordinator for sanctions policy James O’Brien has hinted at balance in US approach on India’s requirements for Russian S-400 missile defence systems, which are being deployed here, vis-a-vis Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (Caatsa).

O’Brien, Biden’s nominee for the US State Department’s coordinator for sanctions policy was asked at his confirmation hearing on Wednesday if the US experience with Turkey provided any warning or lessons on how to proceed with India. The US had imposed sanctions on Turkey over the procurement of S-400 missile systems.

O’Brien said it was difficult to compare the two situations, with a NATO ally that is breaking with legacy defence procurement systems, and then with India, a partner of growing importance, but that has legacy ties with Russia.

“The administration…is discouraging India from proceeding with the acquisitions of Russian equipment, and there are important geostrategic considerations, particularly with (unintelligible) relationship to China. So, I think we have to look at what the balance is,” he said.

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