Can’t ‘Wish Away’ Russia Defence Ties: MEA Sources On The Eve of Pompeo’s Visit

U.S. is pushing for the production of F-16 (renamed as F-21) fighter jets in India

India has already succumbed to US pressure and has given up oil purchases from Iran when a sanctions waiver ran out in May

Though the visit is being termed as preparatory in nature, According to sources this visit is preparatory in nature for the forthcoming meeting between Modi and the US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan.

India to stand firm on S-400 deal with Russia and this will be conveyed by external affairs minister Dr S Jaishankar when he meets with the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday in New Delhi.

While there is no structured agenda for the talks, sources have clarified that all issues are on the table for discussions.

The visiting top US leader will later call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Though the visit is being termed as preparatory in nature, According to sources this visit is preparatory in nature for the forthcoming meeting between Modi and the US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan.

Diplomatic sources told Financial Express Online that “The US administration has enough flexibility to give a waiver to India on CATSAA sanctions on purchase of S-400 air defence system.”

“Just cannot wish away our relationship with Russia. There have been detailed discussions related to S-400 with the US leaders. We meet all the requirements under which the waiver under CATSAA can be given to India,” pointed out the source.

“From a purely legal view, India fulfils those requirements under the US law, which specifies the circumstances under which a waiver can be given by the administration. This will have to be a combination of legal and the political stand of the US government, keeping in mind US-India ties,” the diplomatic source explained.

Significantly, the US has been pressurising India for several months to stop the $ 5 billion S-400 anti-missile deal from Russia and has threatened to enforce its CATSAA sanctions on India. These sanctions are meant to deter countries which are buying military equipment from Russia. The S400 Triumf can hit targets up to 400 km, making it one of the world’s most lethal surface-to-air missiles.

“This missile deal is very important for India and it will not leave it. This has been conveyed to the US.”

Responding to questions, a diplomatic source also said that defence relations with the US has been getting strengthened and so far the two countries have inked very critical agreements including Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA), which will facilitate access to advanced defence systems and enable India to optimally utilise its existing US-origin platforms; the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) which allows the use of each other’s land, air and naval bases for repair and resupply and the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA).

And as has been reported by Financial Express Online earlier, the Industrial Security agreement is all vetted and ready for being inked. And the two sides are discussing the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) which allow the exchange of Geo-Spatial information between India and the US for both military and civilian use. According to the source, “This agreement between the two countries lays out protocols for the sharing of mapping and other Geo-Spatial data securely between the two sides.”

The current growing tension between the US and Iran will be discussed too as India’s is concerned about the stability in the region. India’s energy security and commercial interests too will be discussed. India has already succumbed to US pressure and has given up oil purchases from Iran when a sanctions waiver ran out in May.

The visiting top official will address a meeting of Indian and American industry captains later in the day.




Can’t ‘Wish Away’ Russia Defence Ties: MEA Sources On The Eve of Pompeo’s Visit