Sanctions on India likely after it abstained to vote against Russia at UN, says US

A file photo of Indian PM Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, Senior United States diplomat Donald Lu has said that the Biden administration is looking whether to apply or waive sanctions on India for the purchase of the S-400 Triumf missile defence system from Russia.

Speaking to members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, just after India had abstained from a vote on the UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Lu said the Biden administration was still considering sanctions against India.

He also said that India is likely to be worried about its defence deals with Russia in the coming months and years, which will be impacted due to the mounting sanctions. Lu added that it is unlikely for Russia to be able to make new sales or provide maintenance to its existing customers.

“My view is that it’s going to be very hard for anyone to buy major weapon systems from Moscow in the coming months and years, given sweeping financial sanctions that the administration, with the support of Congress has levelled…I would guess that India is one of those countries worried about that,” Lu said, as mentioned in a report by news agency ANI.

India is one of the largest importers of Russian arms. India recently cancelled orders for MiG-29 fighter aircraft, helicopters and anti-tank weapons, he said, further adding that the sanctions might motivate other countries to follow suit, the news agency reported.

Lu’s comments came after India was criticised by both Republicans and Democrats for abstaining from voting at the UN to rebuke Russia’s invasion. India was among 35 nations to abstain.

The diplomat said that the Biden administration is yet to decide on applying sanctions on India under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). He said that India is a “really important security partner” and that the US values the partnership.


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