The US has threatened sanctions on India for defence deals with Russia and importing Iranian oil. India and Russia continue to bolster relations despite US unilateralism, threats of financial sanctions and carrot and stick approach. Last year, the main driver of ties between India and Russia were the oil agreements between Rosneft and Essar Oil. Now India and Russia have enhanced ties with massive defence deals which have bewildered the US. EurAsian Times analyses if Washington can afford to sanction an influential and rising India?
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Recently, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian PM Narendra Modi inked a $5 billion deal to acquire one of the most advanced air defence system, the S-400 Triumf, risking US sanctions.
As reported by EurAsian Times earlier, the US did not want India to go ahead with the S-400 this deal with Russia. In the “two-plus-to-one” meeting in New Delhi on September 6 last month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US Defense Secretary James Mattis met Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The US threatened economic sanctions on India, but New Delhi did not relent.
India-Russia Strategic Partnership
During the recent visit of the Russian delegation, Rosatom signed with the Indian side a new action plan for cooperation in the field of nuclear energy, involving the construction of six nuclear power plants in India in addition to the construction of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant. By the end of the year, an agreement is expected to be signed on the supply of four Russian frigates to the Indian Navy.
The Russia-India trade is also expected to boom. At one time, we set the goal to increase trade turnover to $ 30 billion by 2025, but if both nations move at such a rapid pace, we will not only fulfil the target but also reach it ahead of time, said a media report quoting President Putin.
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India’s Independent Foreign Policy
An additional reason for America’s dissatisfaction with India’s policy is its unwillingness to support new US sanctions against Iran. A few days ago it became known that next month India is going to buy 9 million barrels of oil in Iran, despite the US embargo, which comes into effect on November 4. Back in May, the Indian Foreign Ministry announced that it would adhere only to sanctions imposed within the UN and since then has not changed this position.
On the other hand, the dependence of the Indian economy on the US is quite large – it is the United States that consistently ranks first among the countries exporting Indian goods. Last year, for example, India shipped almost $ 35 billion worth of products to the United States — more than 16% of all Indian exports.
How will Washington respond to India’s independent foreign policy is yet to be seen, but one thing is quite certain – the actions against New Delhi will not be rigid, as the US is looking to use India to counter ever-growing Chinese influence and cannot risk losing a key ally to Russian-Chinese nexus.