Getting presidential waiver on S-400 might not be easy for India: Experts

WASHINGTON: For India, getting a presidential waiver from the biting CAATSA sanctions will not be that straightforward, some American experts consider regarding the changing political dynamics inside the management and President Donald Trump's non-public strong views towards New Delhi's business and tariff insurance policies and calling it a "tariff king".

Under the CAATSA which was once signed into legislation ultimate yr, India is matter to sanctions now that it has entered into an settlement with Russia to buy S-400 Triumf missile protection device in $5.four billion, which is considered via the US as an important purchase.

The Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act or CAATSA gives the Trump management extra ways to target Russia, Iran and North Korea with financial and political sanctions.

Only ultimate month, US had used CAATSA to impose sanctions on Chinese entities for purchase of S-400. Friends of India in the US hope that New Delhi will receive a presidential waiver, for the reason that Trump Administration has recognised India as a big protection spouse and is prematurely level of marketing billions of bucks' worth of kit to India in the following few years.

Congressional assets say that both Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo driven for a presidential CAATSA waiver maintaining India in thoughts. But the final determination shall be taken via Trump, who in the ultimate a number of weeks has been very vital of India's business and tariff insurance policies.

Last week, Trump described India as a "tariff king" and mentioned India desires to have a business take care of the US after he warned them of enforcing additional price lists on their imports. His latest statements have made some experts feel that the presidential waiver will not be that straightforward.

"At the very least, the administration will likely use the possibility of a sanctions waiver as leverage over India in other trade disputes. India may get the waiver in the end, but the administration will likely extract something for it. We just don't know what yet," a Republican Congressional watcher informed PTI.

Anish Goel, who served in the Obama White House and was once a key staffer of the Senate Armed Services Committee for a number of years, mentioned that National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) 2019 does not mechanically grant a waiver from sanctions for India's protection purchases from Russia.

"The language is non-country specific and merely gives the Administration the authority to grant a waiver if it desires. The ultimate decision is up to the Administration," mentioned Goel, senior fellow at New America think-tank.

"In this case, obtaining such a waiver is not a foregone conclusion. While Mattis is likely a strong supporter of granting one, and many believe he advocated for the legislation because of India's unique situation, there are others in the administration who will oppose giving India special treatment, particularly when it comes to the proliferation of the S-400. It is hard to predict whose arguments will win out," Goel informed PTI in accordance with a question.

Bharat Gopalaswamy from Atlantic Council think tank was hoping that India will in the end get the presidential waiver given the strong relationship that the 2 international locations have.

"I am hopeful that the US would grant India the necessary waiver acknowledging the fact that India is on a positive trajectory towards getting closer to the US and these issues are just a 'passing cloud'," he informed PTI.

"As we are all aware, India has had a path dependency with Russia for the supply of their military hardware. While India is diversifying their sources of military supplies, in the short run, it is resorting to systems from Russia to ensure that its security is not compromised," he mentioned.

"We have to remind ourselves that US-India relationship in this sphere is less than two decades because in 1998 India was a target of US sanctions. I also understand that India had fewer alternatives," he famous.

But some Congressional assets who carefully follow the Trump Administration are fast to point in opposition to the changing dynamics inside the management.

Based on Mattis's strong advocacy for the CAATSA waiver authority on this yr's NDAA, the Indian government most likely believes that obtaining a waiver from the sanctions shall be quite simple, an educated Congressional supply mentioned.

"I don't know if this played any role in India's decision to move ahead with the S-400 purchase, but it's possible that India felt safe that the purchase would not harm US-India relations or incur CAATSA-related sanctions," mentioned the supply.

"However, whether India actually gets the waiver will largely be up to National Security Advisor (John) Bolton, who has long been against giving India any special treatment," assets informed PTI.

"In addition, the Trump administration has stated that limiting proliferation of the S-400 missile system is one of their strategic priorities, and recently levied sanctions against China for its purchase of the S-400. It is certainly within the realm of possibilities that the administration will not look too kindly on India's actions and decide to levy sanctions against India," the Congressional supply mentioned.

"In the end, I think it will come down to who has more influence in this debate - Mattis or Bolton. (Pompeo's personal position is a bit unclear.) I don't know the answer to that question - Mattis's star seems to be fading just a touch and Bolton seems to be ascendant and taking over foreign policy formulation. So it's quite possible that India's faith in getting a waiver is mistaken," the assets mentioned.
Getting presidential waiver on S-400 might not be easy for India: Experts Getting presidential waiver on S-400 might not be easy for India: Experts Reviewed by kailash soni on October 07, 2018 Rating: 5
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