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Rediff.com  » News » No decision to sanction India for S-400 deal or not: Blinken after 2+2 meet

No decision to sanction India for S-400 deal or not: Blinken after 2+2 meet

April 12, 2022 07:03 IST
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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the United States is calling on all nations not to have major weapons transactions with Russia.

IMAGE: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh with External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J Austin III during the India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, in Washington DC, April 12, 2022. Photograph: ANI Photo

He made these marks after the conclusion of the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue between the defence and foreign ministers of India and the United States.

 

"We continue to urge all countries to avoid major new transactions for Russian weapons systems, particularly in light of what Russia is doing to Ukraine," Blinken said when asked whether Washington is considering imposing sanctions on India over procuring S-400 air defence systems.

"We have not yet made a determination regarding potential sanctions or potential waivers under the CAATSA law."

He recognised that there is a long history and long relationship between India and Russia in the trade of military equipment.  "That relationship took hold at a time when we were not able and willing to be a partner to India. Now we are both able and willing to be such a partner -- to be the security partner of choice for India."

Addressing a joint press conference, US Defence Secretary Austin said the United States is actively discussing military modernisation with India and is prepared to make weapons systems more affordable to Delhi.

"On the issue of future systems, we are engaged in active discussions with India on how to best support their modernisation needs. As we look at the future, we want to make sure that we maintain the ability to operate together, and so we look forward to those continued discussions, and it also includes a range of options that would make our systems more affordable," Austin said on Monday.

India uses several Russian-made weapons, including tanks and missile systems, and has signed deals, including the purchase of Russia's S-400 air defence system.

Amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, India has refused to sign join the Western sanctions against Russia despite the looming threat of Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

China is seeking to refashion the Indo-Pacific region and the international system in ways that serve its authoritarian interests, US Defence Secretary Llyod Austin said on Monday, asserting that a strong bilateral partnership with India is a critical building block in a more resilient, regional security architecture.

"China poses a major challenge," Austin said in his opening remarks at the 2+2 ministerial meeting being co-hosted along with his cabinet colleague Secretary of State Tony Blinken for their Indian counterparts Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

IMAGE: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J Austin III and United States Secretary of State Anthony Blinken addresses a press conference, in Washington DC, April 12, 2022. Photograph: ANI Photo

"We all understand the challenges that we face in the Indo-Pacific.  The People's Republic of China is seeking to refashion the region and the international system more broadly in ways that serve its authoritarian interests. But as we operationalize our defence agreements and take our cooperation to the next level, I believe that we can sustain and strengthen a favourable balance of power in the region," he said.

He looked forward to discussing a range of bilateral defence priorities, including deeper information sharing and industrial cooperation.  All this will help to ensure that their our militaries are ready to meet any challenge, he said.

"Now, a strong US-Indian partnership is a critical building block in a more resilient, regional security architecture, and so today's 2+2 is an opportunity to discuss ways to strengthen our cooperation with like-minded partners from East and Southeast Asia to Europe and beyond," Austin said.

Observing that it has been nearly two decades after the two countries signed their first defence framework, he said India and the US have built a partnership that is now a cornerstone of security in the Indo-Pacific.

"Today, we are positioning the US and Indian militaries to operate and coordinate closely together across all domains and increasingly across the wider Indo-Pacific, all in support of the rule of law, freedom of the seas, and regional peace and security," he said.

"Those are vital principles, and now, more than ever, democracies must stand together to defend the values that we all share,” he added.

Later at a news conference, Austin told reporters that the 2+2 ministerial reflects their deep commitment to maintaining open channels of communication on a range of challenging issues.

"As strategic threats converge, especially following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, it is more important than ever that we stand together to defend our shared values and to preserve the international rules-based order,” he said.

”And so I believe that the investments that we've made together today will help to ensure that our shared vision of a secure, open, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region thrives in the decades ahead,” Austin said. 

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