US cautions India over S-400 deal with Russia; India to remain in the deal

The Trump administration has said that New Delhi’s purchase of long-range S-400 missile defence system from Russia would limit the cooperation existing between the two countries. The statement reads, the “US is ready to help India’s defence needs with the latest technologies and equipment, but New Delhi purchasing long-range S-400 missile defence system from Russia would limit this cooperation.”

The statement came after an identical statement from a senior State Department official at the hearings on U.S. Interests in South Asia and the Fiscal Year 2020 Budget of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the U.S. House Representatives.

The Acting Assistant Secretary for South & Central Asian Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Ambassador Alice Wells says that what causes the concern about the S-400 is that this would, in turn, limit India’s ability to the US inter-operability.

She continued to say that ten years back that they did not offer the range of military equipment to India that they are prepared to offer at present. However, she specified that they are now ready to meet India’s defence needs since they practise more military exercises with the country than they do with any other nations.

However, responding to the statement issued by the Trump administration, former Indian Ambassador to Canada, South Korea and former Indian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ambassador Vishnu Prakash said: “Trump administration needs to view India as a partner and not a supplicant.” He added “We bought defence equipment worth $18 bn from the United States. We will also buy Russian S-400 missile defence system. India will take decisions in her geostrategic interests. We will not be pushed around.”

Meanwhile, in what has become the main source of tension between Ankara and Washington, Turkey’s Foreign Minister also said that Turkey will not back down from its decision to buy Russian S-400 missile defence systems despite U.S. warnings that it will lead to Ankara’s exclusion from the F-35 fighter jet program.