Amid speculations over the fate of India's purchase of the S-400 Tiumf air defence missile system from Russia following Washington's sanctions on Moscow, a senior US official said on Monday that there will be no blanket waiver for defence trade with Russia.
"On the S-400, there is no blanket waiver or country-specific waiver," Principal Deputy Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Affairs Alice Wells said while briefing the Indian media over phone from the US about the first ever 2+2 India-US Ministerial Dialogue.
With US President Donald Trump administration's law -- Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) -- coming into effect in January 2018, India's defence deals with other countries have come under the scanner.
The most controversial issue is India's purchase of four S-400 missile systems from Russia at a cost of more that Rs 40,000 crore.
Wells referred to Pompeo's remarks to the media here after the 2+2 Dialogue in which he said that no decision has been taken on the S-400 deal.
"We continue to have conversations with the Indian leadership on ways we are working to hold Russia accountable for its behaviour," she stated.
"As Secretary Pompeo said, the sanctions are not intended to adversely impact countries like India. These are designed to impact Russia," she said.
"So, we are working through the implications of CAATSA and the significant impact of CAATSA."
Wells said both Mattis and Pompeo described the importance of holding Russia accountable for the actions it has taken and in the region during the meeting.
"And also the actions Russia has taken to subvert the US' democracy. That was the nature of the conversation," she said.
The issue of the US Congress allowing for a Presidential waiver in specific cases also did not come up for discussion, Wells said. "There has been no decision to provide waivers, country-specific waivers in the legislation is on case-by-case basis. There was an understanding of the legacy of India's defence cooperation relationship with Russia."
She said that the focus of the conversation was only on the kind of defence acquisitions India needed for its security purposes over the next generation and what impact that has on interoperability.
The most significant outcome of the 2+2 Dialogue was the signing of the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) by the two sides.
Stating that these conversations are ongoing, she said: "We are working very hard with our partners so that there are no disruptions in the market and adequate supply is available to substitute for Iranian oil."
Chinese President Xi Jinping's pet Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has put a number of countries under debt trap for projects under it raising concerns in various quarters.
Wells said that during the meeting, the two sides discussed how to pursue significant infrastructure projects with sustainable financing in then Indo-Pacific region.
The US has $1.4 trillion of trade in the Indo-Pacific and $850 billion in foreign direct investment.
"The conversations were on how can we work bilaterally, trilaterally with Japan, quadrilaterally with Australia and Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) at the centre of our efforts," Wells said.
"How can we work to promote economic security, good governance and the security of the seas and skies."
With India-US bilateral trade being largely tilted in India's favour, correcting the trade imbalance also came up for discussion during the 2+2 Dialogue.
"The conversation was on how we grow our trade relationship in a fair and reciprocal manner," Wells said.
"Non-tariff barriers has been a subject of longstanding concern but we are working with the government of India to address market access," she said.
Last month, the US included India among the top tier of countries entitled to licence-free exports, re-exports and transfers under license exception Strategic Trade Authorization-1 (STA-1).
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)