USA working on measures to ease India's concerns on new sanctions law

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj

"There is concern that any country and not just India that acquires that system will complicate our ability to work towards interoperability together", Chairman of the US Arms Service Committee Mac Thornberry said on Monday.

Two other officials said both sides are now looking at ways to insulate the deal from the sanctions announced by the United States against Russian Federation under its Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

Washington has recently imposed additional sanctions on Venezuela following the re-election of President Nicolas Maduro.

India will continue to trade with Venezuela and Iran despite USA sanctions, according to an announcement by Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, on Monday.

Swaraj said New Delhi's position was independent of any other country.

"We don't make our foreign policy under pressure from other countries", she told a news conference.

Meetings with leaders in India are said to have gone particularly well for Iran, sparking outrage in the United States where these same Indian leaders have been pleading with the Trump administration to boost relations. Iran is India's third largest supplier of petroleum, and India desperately wants to see Iran's South Pars natural gas developed and the gas exported to India, either through Pakistan or through an underwater pipeline through the Gulf.

India's is among the fastest-growing economies in the world (projected to grow 7% this year), with a gross domestic product in nominal terms for 2017, according to the International Monetary Fund, of $2.6 trillion- slightly more than that of France (as well as exceeding that of Italy, Brazil and Russian Federation!).

After the USA withdrawal from the Iran deal, Total-the first supermajor to have returned to Iran after the previous sanctions were lifted-said that would not be in a position to continue the South Pars 11 gas project and would have to unwind all related operations before November 4, 2018 "unless Total is granted a specific project waiver by the United States authorities with the support of the French and European authorities".

Teams of USA diplomats are being sent across the globe to galvanize support for the new US sanctions, the official said. "We are fully engaged at all levels".

India's Foreign Minister made these comments right before heading off to a meeting with the Foreign Minister of Iran who had been invited to New Delhi for the occasion.

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