THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 6 September 2018(CAATSA, a sticking point)

CAATSA, a sticking point

Mains Paper: 2 | International Relations 
Prelims level: CAATSA
Mains level: How CAATSA is important for U.S. India relations? 


  • The much-delayed inaugural ‘2+2’ dialogue between India and the U.S. held on September 6. 
  • These range from the likely signing of the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement, which is meant to provide a legal framework for the transfer of communication security equipment from the U.S. to India.
  • The possible announcement of several high-end defence deals worth billions of dollars. 
  • And yet, some statements from Washington over the last week have come as a reality check. 
  • They open the possibility of the 2+2 dialogue becoming just another high-optics engagement, one that fails to address the structural issues that could adversely affect the deepening strategic partnership between India and the U.S.

Importance of CAATSA

  • The potential is to derail the relationship from Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). 
  • India had made it clear that it would go ahead with the S-400 Triumf missile system deal with Russia even as U.S. sanctions loom large.
  • U.S. officials expressed concern over the S-400 sale, they had assured India that a way would be found by the Trump administration to shield friends and allies from sanctions. 
  • The U.S.’s change in tone and expectations directly impinge on India’s core national interests and interfere in its policymaking.
  • Then there are practical considerations, the Indian military is heavily reliant on Russian equipment in many areas. 
  • Given the specific requirements of the military, the services will continue to choose Russian equipment, although they are also now diversifying their inventory.
  • For India’s choice
  • U.S. officials and experts have suggested that India should procure alternatives from the U.S. Speaking at the NATO summit in July.
  • India has its own due diligence to follow regarding what suits it best and what it needs the most. 
  • The best product may not always be what is needed. 
  • The product that gives the best value for money and performs well under Indian conditions is what is procured. 
  • While the U.S. may expect India to do more for the support rendered by it at various levels, India’s defence cooperation doesn’t fall in that ambit.

Way forward 

  • The India-U.S. relationship has moved past the stage of the usual rhetoric of extolling “large democracies”. 
  • India is a rising power looking for a greater say on the global stage, the U.S. should be sensitive to its core interests.
  • The U.S.  is to find a way out on CAATSA if it is really serious about taking forward the strategic partnership.
  • It is an opportunity for India and the U.S. to address the issue now and prevent it from escalating further.

UPSC Prelims Questions: 

Q.1) Which of the following is true about "CAATSA (Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act)", recently in news ?
1.    The act is passed by USA for countries having significant defence relations with North Korea.
2.    It would be tough for India to carry on defence deals with USA if the act is not diluted on case to case basis.
3.    Both 1 and 2
4.    Neither 1 nor 2                     
Answer: Option 2 

UPSC Mains Questions:
Q.1) How CAATSA is important for U.S. India relations?


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