North Atlantic Treaty Organization Current Affairs - 2019

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US not to sell F-35 fighter jets to Turkey for buying Russian S-400

Donald Trump, President of United States of America has announced that US would not sell F-35 fighter jets to Turkey, a major NATO ally after Ankara purchased S-400 missile defence system from sanctions-hit Russia.

Key Highlights

Turkey, a member of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is denied purchase of F-35 fighter jets after it received the 1st batch of Russian missile defence system despite repeated warnings from US against the purchase.

CAATSA: Under current US laws, any country purchasing major defence equipment from Russia (against whom US has put sanctions) could be subjected to American sanctions. US has imposed a series of sanctions on Russian individuals/companies/government agencies over Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine.

Although US Congress has made amendments in Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) for a Presidential waiver and many in India believe that this Presidential waiver was for India but US officials had clarified that there was no blanket sanction waiver for any country.

F-35 Fighter Jet: It is a stealth, 5th-generation, multirole combat aircraft, designed for ground-attack and air-superiority missions.

What it means for India?

On October 2018 India inked an agreement with Russia in to procure a batch of S-400 missile systems at a cost of Rs.40,000 crore. Later in June 2019, S Jaishankar Union Minister of External Affairs conveyed his US counterpart Mike Pompeo that India will go by its national interest on S-400 missile defence deal with sanctions-hit Russia.

This decision by Trump Administration against Turkey could be an indication for India as New Delhi has also signed up with Russia to buy S-400 missile defence system against the advice of US.

US Senate passes law to give India NATO ally-like status

The United States Senate (Upper Chamber of US Congress) has passed a legislative provision that brings India at par with America’s NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) allies and countries like South Korea, Australia, Japan and Israel for increasing defence cooperation.

This development to bring India at last with NATO ally comes amid a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump during G20 in Osaka, Japan and visit by US Secretary of State (SoS) Mike Pompeo to New Delhi.

What is National Defense Authorisation Act?

The legislative provision called National Defense Authorisation Act (or NDAA) for fiscal year 2020 was passed by Senate in late June.

Purpose: NDAA provides for increased US-India Defence cooperation in Indian Ocean in areas of counter-piracy, counter-terrorism, humanitarian assistance and maritime security.

Significance: The move of elevating India to non-NATO status is vital towards advancement of US-India strategic partnership and will further boost collaboration between India and US in defence.

Way Ahead: The bill would be signed into law after both chambers of US Congress pass it. The House of Representatives is expected to take up its version of NDAA in July before legislators adjourn for August recess on July 29.

US-INDIA Relation

In 2016 United States recognised India as a Major Defence Partner, a designation that allows India to buy more advanced and sensitive technologies from US at par with that of US’ closest allies and partners.

In July 2018, US President Donald Trump-led administration granted India status of Strategic Trade Authorization-1 (STA-1) country. This made India the only South Asian nation to be given the said designation along with US’ NATO allies. This move would ease export controls for high technology product sales to India.

The increased engagement of US with India in multilateral frameworks seeks to promote regional security and defend shared values and common interests in rules-based order.