US bill relief for India, trouble for China & Pakistan

  • 1

WASHINGTON: The US Congress has passed a defence spending bill that seeks to amend an existing law to provide waivers to America’s strategic partners like India from punitive sanctions against those doing business with Russia’s defence industry.
The senate passed the conference report on the National Defense Authorisation Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (NDAA) by an overwhelming, bipartisan vote of 87 to 10.
The Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (Caatsa) waiver is intended at preventing US sanctions on countries like India. New Delhi is planning to buy five S-400 Triumf air defence systems from Russia for around $4.5 billion.
Passed on Wednesday, the bill, named after Senate Armed Services Committee chairman John McCain, would provide $716 billion support in funding for national defence for fiscal year 2019.
billThe bill, which now moves to the White House for President Donald Trump to sign into law provides, among other things, a modified waiver to section 231 of the Caatsa.
Unlike the existing version of the act, the proposed modified waiver requires presidential certifications designed to protect US alliances, military operations and sensitive technology. Joshua White, a former senior official of the National Security Council in the White House, said the legislative language of the bill is designed to look very tough as the Congress is tightening its secondary sanctions on countries that procure Russian equipment. “In reality, the language contains multiple loopholes that benefit India,” he said.