[Editorial Analysis] CAATSA, a sticking point

Mains Paper: 2 | International Relations

Prelims level: CAATSA

Mains level: How CAATSA is important for U.S. India relations?

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Context

• The much-delayed inaugural ‘2+2’ dialogue between India and the U.S. held on September 6.

• These range from the likely signing of the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement, which is meant to provide a legal framework for the transfer of communication security equipment from the U.S. to India.

• The possible announcement of several high-end defence deals worth billions of dollars.

• And yet, some statements from Washington over the last week have come as a reality check.

• They open the possibility of the 2+2 dialogue becoming just another high-optics engagement, one that fails to address the structural issues that could adversely affect the deepening strategic partnership between India and the U.S.

Significance of CAATSA

• The potential is to derail the relationship from Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

• India had made it clear that it would go ahead with the S-400 Triumf missile system deal with Russia even as U.S. sanctions loom large.

• U.S. officials expressed concern over the S-400 sale, they had assured India that a way would be found by the Trump administration to shield friends and allies from sanctions.

• The U.S.’s change in tone and expectations directly impinge on India’s core national interests and interfere in its policymaking.

• Then there are practical considerations, the Indian military is heavily reliant on Russian equipment in many areas.

• Given the specific requirements of the military, the services will continue to choose Russian equipment, although they are also now diversifying their inventory.

India’s choice

• U.S. officials and experts have suggested that India should procure alternatives from the U.S. Speaking at the NATO summit in July.

• India has its own due diligence to follow regarding what suits it best and what it needs the most.

• The best product may not always be what is needed.

• The product that gives the best value for money and performs well under Indian conditions is what is procured.

• While the U.S. may expect India to do more for the support rendered by it at various levels, India’s defence cooperation doesn’t fall in that ambit.

Conclusion

• The India-U.S. relationship has moved past the stage of the usual rhetoric of extolling “large democracies”.

• India is a rising power looking for a greater say on the global stage, the U.S. should be sensitive to its core interests.

• The U.S. is to find a way out on CAATSA if it is really serious about taking forward the strategic partnership.

• It is an opportunity for India and the U.S. to address the issue now and prevent it from escalating further.

Link – https://tt93a.app.goo.gl/gKNTGKmSTtSKXzmt5

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