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Despite US sanctions, India will continue trade with Russia, Iran, Venezuela

Sanctions just ain’t what they used to be

Washington has taken up the perspective that it’s not going to do business with any country that they aren’t fond of, regardless of whatever agreements that it has made, and neither will it allow any of its friends or trade partners do it either, regardless of whatever that means for the hundreds of millions of people that America is directly and indirectly impacting in so doing.

While communism can’t be used anymore as an excuse for an anti Russian posture, Washington isn’t letting that hold them back. It has managed to make use of lots of pretexts, never backed up by any evidence other than imaginary, in order to justify these actions.

Often, words like ‘human rights’, ‘freedom’, ‘democracy’, or other nice sounding words and phrases are thrown around as good things that these countries are allegedly deficient of. So America gets away with artificially inflicting economic hardship on entire populations through economic sanctions, leading to rank financial inequality in these places, and lots of unnecessary suffering; oh, how humanitarian of them.

India, one of Washington’s trade partners, who worked around sanctions before the JCPOA came about, is declaring that they will maintain their ties, trade, defense, and otherwise, with countries like Iran, Russia, and Venezuela, whether Washington likes it not. At least that’s the rhetoric. The consequences to be imposed by the Americans for not following those sanctions, of course, haven’t quite hit home yet.

Sputnik reports:

Eliminating doubts over its future course of action on bilateral trade, including that of defense, with Iran, Russia and Latin American countries in the wake of US sanctions, India has said it only abides by sanctions imposed by the United Nations and not those imposed by any specific country.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — India’s Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj told reporters during an annual press conference in New Delhi that the country will continue to trade with Iran or Russia in spite of the sanctions announced by the Trump administration.

“India follows only U.N. sanctions and not unilateral sanctions by any country. We had continued our trade relation during the last sanction which was imposed prior to 2015 on Iran,” External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said, when asked about India’s response to the US sanctions.

The re-imposition of US sanctions on Iran following Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal has cast a shadow on the long-standing political and economic ties between India and Iran.

Meanwhile, the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) adopted by the Trump administration has threatened to adversely impact India’s defense purchases from Russia, including that of the S-400 air defense system. CAATSA is designed primarily with Russia in mind, and specifically, countries that continue to use Russian military hardware and systems. The law imposes sanctions on individuals and countries that deal with Russia’s intelligence and defense sectors.

But, the foreign minister’s statement has made it clear that India is in no mood to disturb its relations with its all-weather friends, despite US pressure.

“Our foreign policy is not directed to appease or come under any kind of pressure from any country and also it is not reactionary,” Foreign Minister Swaraj emphatically said during the press conference.

Swaraj also emphasized that New Delhi has given importance to Latin American countries, including Venezuela, like never before and will continue to do so in future as well.

“The Reserve Bank of India disallows trading in cryptocurrency, so we will not trade in cryptocurrency. We are figuring out a mechanism through which trade to be continued with Venezuela in oil,” Swaraj said, replying to a query on whether India would trade in Rupee or cryptocurrency with Latin American countries facing US sanctions.

The Trump administration has barred US companies or citizens from buying debt or accounts receivable from the Venezuelan government, including Petróleos de Venezuela, the government-owned oil company that is the parent of the Citgo Petroleum Corporation. Venezuela is offering a discount on oil sales made in “petro”- an oil backed cryptocurrency aimed at warding off US sanctions on energy trade. Indian media earlier reported that Venezuela had offered as much as 30 percent discount on oil sales to Indian refiners provided they traded in the “petro.”

Like several European nations and companies who have been drifting closer to Russia and attempting to keep their ties with Iran intact, India is intent on preserving their economic and political ties with them as well, even though that means counteracting American demands.

Given America’s belligerent behaviour as of late, that’s going to be quite a task, as America isn’t known for backing down, rather, they’re known to rush in like a bull in a china shop.

Lately, international trade agreements have been treated in like manner, as Trump doesn’t seem to care about what gets broken, as long as he gets what he wants. If Washington wants India to cut off trade with its ‘adversaries’ because Washington says so, what path will India pursue?

If it maintains its stance towards Washington’s economic sanctions against these countries (Russia, Iran, Venezuela), then the effects that these sanctions are intended to inflict would only serve to be further politically diluted, losing much of their political weight as nations across the globe actively defy them.

 

 

 

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