US Sanctions – Turkey now, India next?

S-400 acquisition by Turkey is going to cost it dear and India could go the same way

S-400 acquisition by Turkey is going to cost it dear and India could go the same way
S-400 acquisition by Turkey is going to cost it dear and India could go the same way

The Turkey purchase of S-400 missile systems and its misadventures in Syria is coming home to roost. The Republican-led Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 18-4 to send S.2641: Promoting American National Security and Preventing the Resurgence of ISIS Act of 2019[1] for a vote in the full Senate. And the 18-4 margin virtually guarantees a passage in the Senate and is sure to push President Trump to take a much harder line against Turkey.

The panel’s Republican chairman Senator Jim Risch and top Democrat in the committee, Senator Bob Menendez were the sponsors of this bill and both voted for it, while Senator Rand Paul opposed it. He said that this would weaken the president’s power to negotiate with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Other senators strongly disagreed. Many lawmakers, Trump’s fellow Republicans as well as Democrats, are angry about Turkey’s S-400 purchase, which they see as a threat to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) defenses. There are 29 members in NATO and Turkey is one of them[2].

US Congress has already passed its version

The House of Representatives, in a 403-16 vote passed its own version of the Turkish sanctions bill in October. When S.2641 passes in the Senate, then the House Bill and the Senate Bill will be reconciled/ merged and then presented to the President for his signature. Looking at the majorities with which the sanctions are being passed, Trump would find the going very difficult if he vetoes it (the US Congress will impeach him, and he would need Senate to vote against it or he will be history). Trump will huff and puff but when the reality hits home, he will sign on the dotted line. There is also an alternate scenario. If both the Congress and Senate vote again on the combined bill and if that passes by over 2/3rds margin, then even Trump cannot veto it.

What about India?

Once Turkey is put away and starts finding the going tough, the US will turn its attention towards India. The Democrats have been vocal about their opposition to Article 370 (it is a different matter that many are ignorant of what 370 has achieved) or now to the Citizenship Amendment Bill. USCIRF has already started making loud noises. With a token Hindu representative who does not find it worth her while to respond and an office that never picks up the phone, any attempt at trying to make them see the reality will be futile.

I hate to say, “I told you so!” but this very topic has been debated at length in PGurus[3]. India’s economic growth has been steadily declining and sanctions by the US (will EU follow?) could really cripple the economy. Mr. Modi, are you listening?


[1] Promoting American National Security and Preventing the Resurgence of ISIS Act of 2019Dec 11, 2019,

[2] NATO members –

[3] Hangout with Prof M D Nalapat on S-400 acquisitions and why it is bad for IndiaJul 1, 2019, YouTube PGurus channel

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An inventor and out-of-the-box thinker, Sree Iyer has 37 patents in the areas of Hardware, Software, Encryption and Systems.

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  1. Sooner or later India will need to face this from USA. USA is NOT a reliable partner by any stretch of the imagination. I am a US citizen and a registered Republican.
    A country like Pakistan running into the ground with no money is still surviving and has put India on the defensive for decades. Where does it get the strength from? Military has control over there I understand and can handle internal dissent, maybe India cannot as there are powerful enemies inside India working with the Deep state overtly and covertly.
    Even Iran is managing. North Korea too. Why India cannot? India can withstand US sanctions if it can be held tight internally. I do not have an answer as to how India can do that given that the people of Maharashtra voted BJP out as soon as some Hindu agenda were fulfilled. No more use from BJP now for Indian Hindus.

  2. In a multi-polar world, countries like India and Turkey are asserting their position in the new world order, signalling the same by diversifying their defence capital expenditure, in line with their national interest.

    While US aims to regain the lost ground, and implement measures such as CAATSA, it is key to understand the fundamental differences between India and Turkey basis some historical data (Source – SIPRI) and current status:
    1) Scale: India has imported defence equipment worth USD 121 bn, since 1950, compared to Turkey’s USD 56 bn

    2) Share of US/NATO: While NATO countries contributed 94% of Turkey’s imports over this period (US overall share 60%), NATO countries contributed only 25% of India’s imports (US overall share 3%)

    3) Spoilt for Choice: 67% of India’s imports since 1950 has been contributed by Russia, and 3% by Israel (equal to US share of India’s overall imports). Most of India’s big ticket future programs (Submarines, FICV, Fighter Jet) are diversified across non-NATO countries like Russia, Sweden, Israel, S. Korea as potential suppliers

    4) Entrenchment with US: Turkey is a NATO member, and key participant in F-35 program; India is none

    In effect, US may not have the same bargaining power with India, as with Turkey.

  3. I don’t know that you are very afraid of US sanctions. India Caring about US sanctions are long gone . Or are you actually lobbying against Russian arms using your channel?


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