Washington, Mar 18: An American Senator on Wednesday urged US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin to take up the problem of sale of Russian S-400 missile system during his visit to India later this week together with their considerations on human rights points.
“Getting the US-India partnership proper is crucial to addressing twenty first century challenges, and that features urging the Indian authorities to uphold democratic values and human rights,” Senator Robert Menendez, Chairman of the highly effective Senate Foreign Relations Committee, wrote in a letter to Austin.
Austin, the primary ever US defence secretary to embody India on his maiden overseas journey, is scheduled to meet his counterpart Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, together with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Ok Doval, during his New Delhi visit from March 19 to 21.
“In conferences with Indian counterparts during your upcoming visit, I strongly encourage you to clarify that in all areas, together with safety cooperation, the US-India partnership should relaxation on adherence to democratic values,” Menendez mentioned in his letter, a replica of which was launched to the press on Wednesday.
In his capability as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Menendez performs a key position in influencing the nation’s overseas coverage and nationwide safety. Among his predecessors embody President Joe Biden, who occupied this place during former president George Bush’s administration and former secretary of state John Kerry.
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On India’s reported plan to buy the Russian S-400 missile system, Menendez mentioned that if India chooses to go ahead with its buy, that act will clearly represent a sanctionable transaction with the Russian defence sector below provisions of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act or CAATSA.
“I acknowledge that India isn’t a US treaty ally and has historic ties with the Soviet and Russian militaries. However, if India chooses to go ahead with its buy of the S-400, that act will clearly represent a major, and due to this fact sanctionable, transaction with the Russian protection sector below Section 231 of CAATSA,” Menendez wrote.
“It will even restrict India’s means to work with the US on improvement and procurement of delicate army expertise. I anticipate you to make all of those challenges clear in conversations together with your Indian counterparts,” he mentioned.
While democracy and human rights points don’t come below the area of the Pentagon, Menendez urged Austin to increase these considerations with Indian leaders.
“The Indian authorities’s ongoing crackdown on farmers peacefully protesting new farming legal guidelines and corresponding intimidation of journalists and authorities critics solely underscores the deteriorating scenario of democracy in India,” he wrote.
“Moreover, in recent times, rising anti-Muslim sentiment and associated authorities actions just like the Citizenship Amendment Act, the suppression of political dialogue and arrest of political opponents following the abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir, and using sedition legal guidelines to persecute political opponents have resulted within the US human rights group Freedom House stripping India of its ‘Free’ standing in its yearly world survey,” he mentioned.
As the Interim National Security Strategic Guidance states, “democracy is crucial to assembly the challenges of our time.” “We ought to search to associate with India to tackle challenges from China to local weather change, however in doing so we can not let our democratic values fall away. I urge you to increase the significance of democracy and human rights in your conferences with Indian officers to clarify that respect for democratic values is important for robust, sustainable US-India relations,” Menendez mentioned within the letter.