Senate passes defence bill without CAATSA waiver

The Senate version of the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) for 2019 passed on Monday has no waiver provisions.

June 20, 2018 07:05 pm | Updated 09:45 pm IST - Washington

Representational image.

Representational image.

The U.S Senate has ignored the Donald Trump administration’s request for powers to waiver provisions of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which requires it to impose sanctions on countries that have “significant” defence relations with Russia.

The Senate version of the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) for 2019 passed on Monday has no waiver provisions.

The version of the NDAA 2019 passed earlier by the House of Representatives has a provisions for waiver in rules attached to it, but that is inadequate to address India’s concerns about the law. India is caught in the crossfire of the bipartisan law against Russia, due to its defence relations with Kremlin.

The House version allows for waivers for 180 days, provided the administration certifies that the country in question is scaling back its ties with Russia. This formulation is inadequate to resolve the Indian situation, as it links waiver to India rolling back ties with Russia.

The House and Senate versions of the bill are reconciled through a conference process, but any hope of a legislative resolution to the CAATSA headache now appears out of reach. People lobbying for changes in the law in order to ensure that India’s increasing defence purchases from America won’t be interrupted by sanctions said lawmakers would be more amenable after the November 2018 midterm elections.

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