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Take steps to encourage India’s transition away from Russian weapons: Congressional amendment

A strong US-India defence partnership rooted in shared democratic values is critical to advancing US’ interests in the Indo-Pacific, three American senators have said in a legislative amendment that urges the Biden administration to encourage New Delhi to accelerate its transition away from Russian weapons.

Senator Mark Warner, Co-Chair of the Senate India Caucus, along with Senators Jack reed and Jim Inhofe, in the amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, says that India faces immediate and serious regional border threats from China, with continued military aggression by the Chinese people along the India-China border.

The relations between India and China have soured over the incursion by Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh in May 2020, leading to a prolonged military standoff that is still unresolved.

 India has made it clear to China that peace and tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) were key for the overall development of the bilateral ties.

“The United States should take additional steps to encourage India to accelerate its transition away from weapons and defence systems manufactured in the Russian Federation while strongly supporting India’s immediate defense needs,” said the amendment. It said that for its national defence, India relies on weapons manufactured by Russia.

Russia has been a major supplier of military hardware to India. In October 2018, India signed a USD 5 billion deal with Russia to buy five units of the S-400 air defence missile systems, notwithstanding a warning by the US that going ahead with the contract may invite sanctions under the provisions of Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

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