Russia, India, and China have slammed the imposition of “unilateral sanctions” outside the purview of the United Nations (UN) Security Council’s mandate during the 18th round of Russia-India-China (RIC) foreign ministers’ meeting held in virtual format on Friday.

The virtual meeting was attended by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi and Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.

A joint statement released after the meeting said that the ministers “agreed” about such sanctions being “inconsistent with the principles of international law” and “had a negative impact on third states and international economic and trade relations”.

“They [the ministers] called for a further consolidation and strengthening of the working methods of the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee to ensure their effectiveness, responsiveness and transparency”, the joint communique further stated.

The criticism of the “unilateral sanctions” regime by the three governments comes amid the looming threat of sanctions against Indian officials and institutions under Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), an American domestic law passed in 2017 and meant to discourage other nations to enter into military deals with Russia, Iran, and North Korea.

India is currently receiving its first columns of Russian S-400 "Triumf" surface-to-air missile systems, as part of a $5.43 billion deal between New Delhi and Moscow for the supply of five such columns. The defence deal between India and Russia was signed back in 2018.

India’s foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi was asked by a journalist to clarify during his weekly briefing on Friday if the particular issue of CAATSA sanctions figured during the RIC meeting that took place earlier in the day.

"We pursue an independent foreign policy and this applies to our defence acquisitions, which are guided by our national security interests", the Indian official replied.

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said during a briefing this week that the Biden administration was yet to take a call on the Russia-India defence transaction.

Last month, US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman warned during her visit to India that buying the Russian S-400 missile system was "dangerous" and in "nobody's interest".

"We want to be very thoughtful about the ways ahead, and discussions between our countries try to solve problems, and I hope we will be able to in this instance as well", Sherman had said.