CAATSA, a political and a commercial tool – The Tribune India

Rahul Bedi

Senior Journalist

The niggling issue of the US potentially sanctioning India for acquiring Russian materiel to meet its urgent military needs simply refuses to go away. For, looming menacingly over defence equipment purchases from India’s oldest, largest and reliable supplier of military goods is the capricious Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) of the US.

In comments to the UK’s Jane’s Defence Weekly in late June, immediately after New Delhi had announced its intent to procure 33 Russian combat aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF), a senior US State Department official ominously declared that India was not ‘safeguarded’ from penalties under CAATSA.

In January 2017, Washington had imposed CAATSA against Russian defence, security, gas and oil entities in retaliation to Moscow’s military intervention in Ukraine and its alleged meddling in the 2016 American presidential elections. Thereafter, President Donald Trump had signed CAATSA into law in a move that periodically threatens to adversely impact India and others, like China and Turkey, procuring assorted Russian defence hardware.

“I can confirm that we urge all of our allies and partners to forego (defence) transactions with Russia that