The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Friday said that India has always pursued an independent foreign policy based on national security interest which also applies to its defence acquisition and supplies. The statement comes days after the United States warned New Delhi against the purchase of S-400 air defence system from Russia as it may trigger American sanctions.
A US Congressional report said, "India's multi-billion dollar deal to purchase the Russian-made S-400 air defence system may trigger US sanctions on India under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act." Outgoing US envoy Kenneth Juster also said that the Indian government may have to make hard decisions regarding its decision to purchase S-400 air defence system from Russia.
"India-US has a comprehensive global strategic partnership. India has a special and privileged partnership with Russia. We pursue an independent foreign policy, this also applies to our defence acquisition and supplies guided by a national security interest," MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said when asked about the US report and Kenneth Juster's statement.
Srivastava asserted that the US does not want to impose sanctions under Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) against "its friends". But, he noted that very soon India would have to make choices between "trade-offs" and acquiring modern military hardware from the US.
"The CAATSA sanctions were never designed to harm friends and allies. They were aimed at a particular country. And there are many variables involved in it and I think I would put that issue to the side because I see other issues that potentially affect the future of the defence relationship," he said.
On Nepal's political developments, the MEA spokesperson said that it was Nepal's internal matter and as a neighbour and well-wisher, India will continue to support Nepalese people in moving ahead on the path of peace, prosperity and development.
India had signed a USD 5.43-billion deal with Russia for the purchase of five S-400 systems during the 19th India-Russia Annual Bilateral Summit in New Delhi on October 5, 2019, for long-term security needs.Washington had indicated that the Russian S-400 systems may trigger CAATSA sanctions.