June 24, 2019
Politics

US warns India of serious implications if it picks Russian S-400 over American defense promises

The US-India defense ties will be put at risk should New Delhi purchase Russian S-400 air defense systems, a senior American diplomat warned, noting that India should think very carefully about making such strategic choices.

“At a certain point, a strategic choice has to be made about partnerships and a strategic choice about what weapons systems and platforms a country is going to adopt,” Alice Wells, US principal deputy assistant secretary for South and Central Asia, said this week at the hearings on US interests in South Asia and the budget for the fiscal year 2020.

Indias procurement of the S-400s “effectively could limit Indias ability to increase our own interoperability,” she said, explaining that Washington has “serious concerns” about the implications of the $5 billion deal signed with Russia in October on India-US defense ties.

There is no blanket waiver, or a country waiver when it comes to S-400.

Washington wants to capture Indias arms market, the diplomat told House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee for Asia, noting that US is now willing to sell equipment that previous administrations had refused to consider.

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“Under the Trump administration, we've been very clear that we're ready to help meet Indias defense needs and we are seeking a very different kind of defense partnership building on the 'Major Defense Partner' designation that India has received from Congress,” she said.

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Securing new military deals is one of Secretary of State Mike Pompeos top priorities when he heads to India later this month, amid high trade tensions between both countries. Earlier this week, Pompeo said that Lockheed Martins F-21 and Boeings F/A-18 fighter offerings will be on the table. There had even been Read More – Source

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