Saturday, March 20, 2021, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin called on America’s allies to move away from Russian military equipment.
This came after Austin met with his Indian counterpart, Rajnath Singh, in the capital, New Delhi, and Indian media indicated that Austin answered a question related to India’s efforts to purchase the S-400 air defense system.
Warning of US sanctions
In a meeting with his Indian counterpart, Rajnat Singh, on Saturday, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin discussed India’s intention Purchase of the Russian S-400 air defense systemAnd he reiterated that the allies of the United States should not purchase Russian equipment. To avoid US sanctions.
Austin told reporters in New Delhi, “We definitely urge all our allies and partners to stay away from Russian materiel … and to avoid acquiring it in any form, which would cause sanctions on our part.”
He added that India has not received any shipment of the S-400 air defense system, and therefore the possibility of imposing sanctions has not been discussed.
Last year, the United States imposed sanctions on Turkey after it bought S-400 missiles. In 2019, India paid an initial payment of $ 800 million to purchase the defense system from Russia, and it expects the first batteries of the missiles to arrive later this year.
India’s purchase of Russian missiles
Before Austin traveled to India, Senator Bob Menendez, Chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, asked him to raise concerns about democracy and human rights in his talks with the Indian government, and to reiterate the objection of President Joe Biden’s administration to India’s planned purchase of Russian missiles.
Austin’s visit to India, the first by a prominent member of the Biden administration, comes as part of efforts to form a coalition of countries aiming to counter China’s influence in the region.
The leaders of the United States, India, Australia and Japan, countries that form what is known as the Quartet Security Dialogue Group, held their first summit meeting last week, and pledged to work together to ensure freedom of navigation in the Indian and Pacific oceans, and cooperation in the field of maritime and electronic security in the face of the challenges posed by China. .
“India, in particular, is an increasingly important partner among the international powers undergoing rapid transformation today,” said Austin after his meeting with Singh, during which they discussed strengthening defense ties.
He added, “We discussed opportunities to strengthen the main defense partnership between America and India. We will do this through regional security cooperation and partnerships between the two militaries …”.
America is the largest arms seller to India
Reuters reported, on Friday, that America is one of the largest arms sellers to India. The two sides are discussing India’s plans to purchase armed drones from the United States, as well as a mega-deal of more than 150 combat aircraft for the Indian Air Force. To help narrow the gap with China.
Boeing and Martin Lockheed of the United States are at the forefront of competing for the multi-billion dollar combat aircraft contracts.
Austin met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi after arriving in New Delhi on Friday. The US Secretary will leave India tomorrow, Sunday.
India converged with the United States last year, after border clashes with China. Washington helped New Delhi by renting surveillance drones and providing equipment to Indian forces to cope with the cold weather.