CAATSA: Waiver for India?
In News: A US congressional conference report paved the way for waiver to countries such as India from the punitive Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act or CAATSA, which is primarily aimed at targeting Russian intelligence agencies and other entities engaged in cyberattacks.
The Senate and House Armed Services Committee in a joint conference report to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)-2019 provided a modified waiver to section 231 of CAATSA. The proposed modified waiver requires presidential certifications designed to protect US alliances, military operations, and sensitive technology.
What is CATSA?
CATSA was signed into law in August 2017 and went into effect in January this year; mandates the Trump administration to punish entities engaging in significant transaction with the defence or intelligence sectors of Russia.
India uses a large amount of Russian military equipment, from combat planes to ships and submarines, and is in the final stages of negotiating a $6 billion deal to buy S-400 long range surface to air missile systems from Russia.
The law is designed to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin for the
- 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine
- Involvement in the Syrian civil war
- Meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election
Conditions under which Trump can seek a waiver for allies: The administration has to certify that
- A country is reducing arms imports from Russia
- Is expanding defense cooperation with the United States.
- The waiver should make for some happy talk during the India-US 2+2 dialogue on September 6 in New Delhi. It should also create momentum for forward movement on pending issues.
- There are certain areas in advanced technologies where India and the US should now push forward – the Defense technology trade initiative; as what is lacking is a strong leadership.
- One of the biggest factors which we need to understand is that the Indian diaspora has actually come of age. There is a rise in the number as well as influence of Indian diaspora, which will ensure the rise in Indo-US relations.