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Opinion

In the clear MEA message to the US, a reminder about the S-400 deal

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In the context of potential US sanctions on the $ 5.4 billion deal with Russia for S-400 air defense systems, India said on Friday it has an independent foreign policy that guides defense acquisitions in line with security interests. national.

Recent reports have suggested that the United States could impose secondary sanctions under the Fighting American Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). The Russian side has said that the deal for five S-400 systems is progressing as scheduled despite the threat of possible sanctions.

“India and the United States have a comprehensive global strategic partnership. India has a special and privileged strategic partnership with Russia, ”Foreign Ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava told a weekly press conference.

“India has always followed an independent foreign policy. This also applies to our defense procurement and supplies that are guided by our national security interests, ”he said in response to a question about the S-400 deal.

Outgoing US envoy Kenneth Juster said this week that CAATSA sanctions were not directed against friends of the United States, although India may soon need to make difficult decisions regarding the acquisition of military equipment.

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India has tried to keep its arms purchasing options open and the country’s leadership has signaled its intention to continue acquiring military equipment from Russia, which accounts for more than 60 percent of the weapons systems of the three services.

Responding to another question about the US administration’s plans to modify the H-1B visa selection process by prioritizing salary and skills over the current lottery, Srivastava said India is in communication with the US side to ensure a “greater predictability” in the visa regime.

Almost 70 percent of the 65,000 H-1B visas issued by the United States each year go to Indian citizens.

“We are committed to the United States government for greater predictability in the visa regime and to minimize the inconvenience to Indian citizens in the United States or those who propose to travel to the United States for good faith reasons, including moving of Indian professionals, ”said Srivastava.

India has also taken note of recent proclamations by the US government extending the suspension of entry for certain immigrants and non-immigrants by three months, he said.

“People-to-people relationships are a vital part of the partnership between India and the United States. The United States recognizes the fact that skilled professionals from India have contributed to the growth of the American economy and have helped the United States maintain its competitive advantage and innovation advantage, ”he added.

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