The Biden administration is considering sanctions on India over New Delhi’s stockpile of Russian weapons, a State Department official told Congress on Thursday.
Donald Lu, the assistant secretary of State for South Asian affairs, said the US might sanction India under the Countering American Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which was passed in 2017.
The CAATSA allows the president to impose sanctions over the transfer of Russian military equipment and was used by the Trump administration to target Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 missiles.
“It’s a question we’re looking at very closely, as the administration is looking at the broader question over whether to apply sanctions under CAATSA or to waive those sanctions,” Lu said.
In recent years, the US had increased military cooperation with India as part of its strategy to counter China. But New Delhi still maintains close ties with Moscow, and India is balancing its relationships with the two powers as it approaches the issue of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
At the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, India abstained from voting to condemn Russia’s attack on Ukraine. Lu said Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other State Department officials have urged India “to take a clearer position, a position opposed to Russia’s action.”