NDAA Amendment was introduced to waive CAATSA sanctions against India for its purchase of S-400 missile system from Russia. US Congressman Ro Khanna said House members believe that a strong US-India partnership is critical amidst rise of China and Putin

The Amendment to National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA), which was authored and introduced by US Congressman Ro Khanna, promises to bolster defence partnership between India and the US. The Amendment, which was approved by the US House of Representatives on July 14, waived CAATSA sanctions against India for its purchase of S-400 Russian missiles.

“The reason it’s in the interests of the United States is we need a strong partnership with India. Defence partnership, a strategic partnership, especially because we are two democratic nations and with the rise of China and with the rise of Putin, this alliance is critical for the United States,” Ro Khanna told news agency ANI.

The Amendment is now awaiting the US Senate’s nod.

What Is NDAA?

NDAA is the annual budget of the US. The Senate Armed Services Committee released its version of the NDAA last week, which includes enhancing major defence partnership with India with regards to more cooperation in the fields of intelligence, drones and fourth and fifth generation aircraft.

The section also asks the defence secretary to look out for other areas of strengthening cooperation between the two countries, and also explaining security considerations including protection of research and development and intellectual property. It also seeks opportunities to work with the defence ministry of India. It also covers military-related works run by the Department of Energy’s nuclear weapons programmes and Federal Bureau of Investigation’s counterintelligence activities.

The bill provides opportunities to other Congressmen who make an impact on the foreign policy.

How Will India Gain From This?

Former US President Donald Trump had warned India that the S-400 missile deal with Russia, worth $500 billion, will invite sanctions against India, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had stated the New Delhi follows an independent foreign policy and its defence agreements are guided by the interests of the national security.

President Joe Biden was reportedly to take a decision on the matter in March, 2022.

Amidst all this, it was quite apparent that the US sees India as its ally against nemesis China, and sanctioning India would have also affected the Quad, which was built to counter China in the Indo-Pacific region.

Ro Khanna said, “What was relevant is you have 300 House members, the vast majority going on referencing that the US-India relationship is critical. In saying that the sanctions should be waived. And that gives a very clear, resounding message to the President of the United States to waive the sanctions.”

Why US Imposes CAATSA Sanctions On Countries?

The Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act is a federal law that was created to punish Russia for its Crimea annexation in 2014. The Donald Trump administration signed the law in 2017, which allowed financial and economic sanctioning on countries transacting with Russia on arms and weapons.

Under this law, the American government can impose sanctions on any country that has “significant transactions with Iran, North Korea or Russia”. 

The US penalised Turkey in December 2020 by imposing CAATSA for buying S-400 missile defence system from Russia.

In 2021, the US sanctioned China for its purchase of 10 SU-35 Russian combat aircraft in 2017 and S-400 system in 2018.