Yesterday, Moscow and New Delhi signed an agreement to deliver S-400 systems totaling $5.43 billion. Igor Gashkov presented an analysis of the situation that represents a “black mark” for Washington.
The agreement, signed during bilateral talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was preceded by tough talks with the United States. In September, New Delhi was even visited by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who, however, did not get the country to discard the contract with Russia.
USA is not capable of everything
India believes that the purchase of the S-400 will help them maintain their balance of power with China, which has already bought these anti-aircraft defense systems, and will influence relations with another neighboring country, Pakistan.
Incidentally, to preserve its positions in the region, New Delhi will also allocate $100 billion to army rearmament. A large portion of this sum will go to Russia, because although the US is increasing its war exports to the country, they do not have analogues to the S-400, writes the journalist. In addition, Americans are unwilling to share much of their military technology with Indians.
“New Delhi is aware that it may end up being targeted, but it is prepared for such risks. The calculations are based on solid geopolitical arguments. While Trump governs, Washington abruptly moves away from both China and its ally in South Asia. The Americans have no other allies than New Delhi in the region, so the Indians are sure that the White House will not dare introduce sanctions,” Gashkov writes.
Enough of enemies?
At the same time, the White House is unlikely to be satisfied with the recent signing of the Russian-Indian agreement, as it has already introduced sanctions against Beijing for cooperating with Russia in the military field.
“Doing the same thing with the Indians would mean moving away from another country. Failing to do so would mean showing political fragility and the conditionality of the announced sanctions,” reflects the columnist.
However, there is a “loophole” to get out of this impasse, since India has formally actually “reduced Russia’s arms purchases”, which is, however, a very formal one, as 40% of imports in this field continue to be of Russian production.
The author recalls that Soviet-backed military contracts continue to be useful to Moscow – New Delhi has MiG and Su airplanes, T-72 and T-90 tanks, as well as a Russian atomic submarine. Moreover, recent negotiations have resulted in new purchases – this time of warships totaling $2.2 billion.
India calculated all
The main focus of the talks between Putin and Modi had to do with the possible creation of a system of payments that allows to carry out transactions without using the dollar, because such technology would reduce to zero the extraterritorial sanctions of the USA. These two countries are not the only ones who express support for the initiative – among others, this desire is also expressed by European politicians and Chinese authorities. But to learn to live without the American currency, the international community will need some time, warns the author.
“As long as alternative technologies are not widespread, New Delhi is waiting for Washington’s reaction to the contract [with Russia]. There is no unanimity in American elites, and the White House is inclined to turn a blind eye. However, Congress, where rhetoric is led by Republicans with anti-Russian views, may demand that the CAATSA [Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act] be formally observed,” Gashkov argues.
The experts consulted by the author of the text also believe that India will hardly be faced with restrictive measures.
“I do not think the US does that,” head of the Indian Research Center at the Institute of Studies Eastern Academy of Sciences of Russia, Tatiana Shaumyan, said.
The same opinion was expressed by the researcher of the Institute of Economics and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Aleksei Kupriyanov.
“The current US administration is not interested in worsening relations with India, considering New Delhi as a potential ally in the confrontation with Beijing. It is unlikely we should wait for US sanctions because of the recent contract, while possible restrictions on future contracts will depend on the development of the US domestic political situation and its dynamics in the relationship with China,” he said.