Russian news has reported that Russia has announced they will sell weapons to India, and India has replied that the matter is one with the US and not international law, and they will proceed with the purchase:
American laws are their own matter locally and have nothing to do with India, the country’s defense chief said, refusing to bow to a US sanctions threat over its planned purchase of Russian S-400 air-defense systems.
New Delhi has relayed to Washington that the threat of unilateral US sanctions will not have an impact on its decision on the possible purchase of S-400 Triumf air defense missile systems from Russia.
“We have told the US Congress delegation that this is US law and not a UN law,” India’s defense minister Nirmala Sitharaman noted, apparently referring to a US federal bill that was implemented in 2017.
The so-called Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) mandates the US administration to punish entities engaging in significant transactions with Russia’s defense sector companies.
Refusing to bow to the threat of potential sanctions, Sitharaman said that the 39,000 crore ($5.7bn) deal to purchase five S-400 units has nearly been finalized. “Our defense relation with Russia has endured several decades and we have conveyed this about it to a US Congressional delegation which visited India recently,” Sitharaman told a group of reporters at her office in South Block.
The deal is expected to be finalized by the fall, to be sealed during a summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin in India this October. The S-400 Triumf is the most advanced Russian anti-aircraft system available for export, designed to engage aerodynamic targets at a range of up to 400km and ballistic missiles up to 60km away. One S-400 division can engage up to 36 targets simultaneously, while the launcher can use at least four interceptor missile types, suited to different targets.
India is not the only country that is being pressured by Washington because of plans to purchase Russia’s S-400. US lawmakers have been threatening sanctions against Turkey and are seeking to ban F-35 deliveries if Ankara goes ahead with the deal. (source)
India is acquiring weapons systems from Russia because she wants to assert herself as a regional power on a world stage. This is tied to the rise of Hindu nationalism and the idea of making India into a “great nation” by destroying “undesirables”. For India, this means two groups.
The first group are the Christians of India. This is an internal matter, as the Hindu nationalists hate the Christians and are blaming them for everything from the nation’s past problems to the reason why India is not as advanced as the rest of the world. The Hindu nationalists are doing this to stir up hatred against them, and they plan to commit a mass genocide of Christians all throughout India.
The second issue is Pakistan, which is one of India’s greatest enemies, if not her greatest after China. India and Pakistan have been placing troops on the border between the two nations, and even pointing nuclear weapons at each other. Both nations hate each other and will not hesitate to use them. India’ conflict with China is geopolitical, owing to China’s large size and influence in Asia
The major concern for the Christians of India is the Aadhaar system, which it a national ID card and the most advanced one used by a nation in mass in the world. There have been reports that it will be used to facilitate hunting down Christians in India, as nobody will be able to buy or sell without it, and it provide details about every person in India. Any violence against Christians would likely use small weapons, such as handguns and rifles, as part of executing the planned genocide against them.
For the nation as a whole, India seeking out large-scale military weapons will be used for a foreign war, most likely against Pakistan. However, such weapons are also meant as a deterrent to China, which while it does not have significant military conflict in recent history with India is still a competitor and a threat to India.
Pakistan is a US ally and has been for some time. She has shown herself to be a generally reliable US ally since the 1980s, when she was central to the weapons trafficking program administered by the CIA as part of Operation Cyclone against the Soviets. She continues to receive military funding from the USA as well as weapons.
Pakistan is hated in her region. Iran and India have both expressed a desire to destroy her. Her only allies are the USA and Saudi Arabia, where Pakistan stationed 10,000 troops. Saudi Arabia and Pakistan rely heavily on the USA, but they both know that the USA does not “need” them and can leave them at any time. This is partly the reason why Pakistan is said to be looking to the Chinese for weapons, because while it is true there are tensions with Pakistan and the USA, Pakistan still knows that for her survival, she needs to divest from the USA as her sole major weapons supplier in the event the USA should choose to jettison her, which is not an impossible option. China’s status as a “competitor” to India also builds Sino-Pakistani relations and helps China establish a more aggressive stance to “surround” India which directly benefits Pakistan.
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have no other allies. Iran hates Saudi Arabia, and Turkey has made clear that she wants to work with Iran while also destroying Saudi Arabia in her quest to revive a neo-Ottoman empire.
Now as noted, Pakistan is a US ally. However, India is also a US ally.
China and the USA are basically enemies. The Chinese need the Americans to buy their cheaply manufactured junk, and even if the Chinese did try to call the US to pay her deficit with China, because the American dollar is the world’s reserve currency, then all the Americans need to do is either refuse to pay or print the money to pay it, effectively devaluing their own money and paying the Chinese in worthless, devalued dollars, at which point the “crash” on the dollar would be blamed on “Chinese meddling” and would be presented to the public as an “act of war” so America could, with her Japanese ally who historically invades China, go to war against her.
Either way, the US comes out ahead.
What concerns the USA is China’s increasing military presence, as she is attempting to build herself into a world power equal to or stronger than the USA and Russia, and is attempting to copy the USA by going to Africa to secure materials for her economy. India, while not a world power, is a regional power with a presence on the world stage and a massive population. The USA will not threaten India because just like she did with Turkey on her dealings with Russia, she will back the Indians as a “hedge” against the Chinese in the West and south while supporting Japan as an other “hedge” in the north and east.
America is also not going to care one thought about the persecuted Christians of India, which is coming and will get worse the more power she acquires. The Christians of India will be left as sitting ducks and annihilated just like the 1.2 million Christians that used to live in Iraq before the US invasion and now more than 80% have fled and are not going to return.
As far as the conflict between Pakistan and India, the only care the US will have is if the conflict threatens her position in Central Asia with Russia or China, or threatens other economic interests she has or decides are in her interests in the future. Otherwise, she will likely regard the fruit of her actions with the same detached indifference as she did for the Christians.
Russia knows all of this, and is taking a similar position with a slightly different approach because of her issues. Russia is a large nation bordering 14 nations on her direct borders (Azerbaijan, Belarus, China, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Mongolia, North Korea, Norway, Poland, and Ukraine), and when one considers the Russia influence in all of Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan), she pushes against the borders of Afghanistan, Iran, and Turkey, and is also very close to both Pakistan and India each.
Given the systematic internal social issues plaguing Russia in combination with her size, she needs to keep peace in her sphere of influence as much as possible. This assumes there will be conflict because there has always been and will always be conflict in or around her. The issue is keeping what will naturally happen as controlled and minimally invasive as possible.
In accordance with such a strategy, Russia is not going to “take sides” for or against Pakistan or India. She needs to maintain neutrality and, on an international level, give “support” to both without appearing that she is partaking of the dispute that Pakistan and India have with each other.
The USA is more easily able to play either India or Pakistan against each other because she does not have a permanent physical presence in the area- she could pack up and leave without a trace and that would be the end of her until she chose to return. Russia does not have that option because she is physically close to both nations. She cannot engage in political chicanery because it would create long-standing, hostile memories that would result in continual instability in the region for years untold.
A recent article on The Diplomat claimed that Russia was undermining American strategy in Southern Asia. This is only partially true, because what the US calls “interests” are in a tangible sense the Americans using her position as the world reserve currency and military power to sell military goods at a discounted rate to whatever country she believes benefits her at the moment in order to wage war against Russia. What the USA calls “undermining” is what Russia calls “security” because by supporting both Pakistan and India but not pledging to either nation, she presents herself as a friend to both who allows either nation to settle their internal disputes and turn any potential animosity either may have away from her and towards each other. Since the Chinese are selling weapons to Pakistan, and considering that Iran is allied at least nominally to Russia, Russian sales to Pakistan and India boost Russia’s presence in Central Asia with Chinese influence, which undermines the systematic American attempts to stir up Turkish nationalism in Central Asia in order to foment anti-Russian sentiments.
Russia is acting out of a place of survival because she knows that the Americans are looking to exacerbate already existing problems in Russia in order to carve her up into a series of several separate nations, and it is not entirely impossible to say that could not happen.
There is no “good side” in the militarization of South Asia, as all routes will lead to conflict. The Indians are already leaning towards systematic persecution of Christians owing to the rise of Hindu Nationalism. The Pakistanis are Muslim majority, and while there are many Christians in Pakistan, the nation is far from anything of a “Christian friendly” nation and herself has been involved in nefarious crimes. The USA is seeking to stir up dissent in the area for geopolitical reasons of money and power, and the Russians are going to do whatever they have to in order to survive. The Chinese will want to take advantage of any “weaknesses” to expand their sphere of influence,but most likely will be be checked by Japan, whose remilitarization is a historical sign of an impending war.
The next decade is going to be very interesting.