US plans to remove India from its sanctions list, passes supporting bill in the US Congress

Washington: A Bill to ensure that India does not get affected while dealing with the countries under sanctions from the United States has been passed in the US Congress. At the same time, the Bill cuts the aid to Pakistan by $150 million. Moreover, the United States has also decided to make the defence cooperation with India more comprehensive.

The US Congress sanctioned a defence budget of $716 Billion. Also, India has received a major fillip with the passage of the ‘National Defence Authorisation Act 2019’ (NDAA) Bill in the US Congress with a majority of 87 to 10 votes. It is clear from the NDAA that the United States, targeting Russia and China with sanctions, has ensured that its major partner countries are not affected by the sanctions. The US Congress had previously passed a bill to impose sanctions against the countries entering into defence cooperation with Russia. In accordance to that India and Turkey were threatened with sanctions for buying the S-400 air defence system from Russia.

The United States is also demanding that India should stop its oil purchase from Iran. India had refused to accede to both the demands. The US Secretary of Defence James Mattis had said that the United States needed to have a more profound attitude towards the defence transactions between Russia and India. Thus, the country seems to have made the necessary legal amendments to eliminate the possibility of sanctions against India.

The foreign and defence ministers of India and the United States are scheduled to meet soon and the later seems to have passed a bill favouring India before the ‘two-plus-two’ meet. The United States has taken Pakistan to task while consoling India. It cut down the aid to Pakistan by $150 million and there can be reactions from Pakistan about this. A few days ago, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had demanded that the International Monitory Fund (IMF) to not provide any financial assistance to Pakistan. Pompeo had made the demand by objecting to the loan from the IMF possibly being used by Pakistan to pay off Chinese debts.

Pakistan had expressed displeasure over the statement and its officials criticised Pompeo by saying that “The country still does not have a new government. Therefore, there was no question of Pakistan asking for financial assistance from the IMF”. The officials also expressed displeasure saying that the United States is helping India instead of Pakistan, who has been an ally of the United States in the war against terror.