US “con­sid­er­ing” In­dian re­quest for armed UAVs

Vayu Aerospace and Defence - - Aviation Defence & In India -

The United States is “con­sid­er­ing” In­dia’s re­quest for armed UAVs, ac­cord­ing to a se­nior Amer­i­can of­fi­cial, “to help it strengthen the coun­try’s de­fence ca­pa­bil­i­ties”. Early this year, the IAF had re­port­edly re­quested the US Gov­ern­ment for Gen­eral Atomics Preda­tor C Avenger air­craft, it be­ing un­der­stood that IAF would need 80 to 100 such sys­tems. This is in ad­di­tion to the re­quire­ment for 22 un­armed Guardian UAVs, which would add the In­dian Navy’s sur­veil­lance ca­pa­bil­i­ties in the strate­gic In­dian Ocean re­gion.

The Obama Ad­min­is­tra­tion had des­ig­nated In­dia as a ma­jor de­fence part­ner and the Trump Ad­min­is­tra­tion has ac­cel­er­ated the process of con­sid­er­ing In­dian re­quests. “The US Navy and the In­dian Navy have been co­op­er­at­ing for many years on counter piracy ef­forts, on en­sur­ing free­dom of nav­i­ga­tion in the In­dian Ocean and the and Red Sea and the Per­sian Gulf,” ac­cord­ing to a US de­fence of­fi­cial.

Ear­lier, US Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son had said that in keep­ing with In­dia’s sta­tus as a ma­jor de­fence part­ner and their mu­tual in­ter­est in ex­pand­ing mar­itime co­op­er­a­tion, the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion had of­fered a range of de­fence op­tions for In­dia’s con­sid­er­a­tion, in­clud­ing the Guardian UAV.“We value the role In­dia can play in global se­cu­rity and sta­bil­ity and are pre­pared to en­sure they have even greater ca­pa­bil­i­ties,” Mr. Tiller­son said and added that “the pro­pos­als the US has put for­ward, in­clud­ing for Guardian UAVs, air­craft car­rier tech­nolo­gies, the Fu­ture Ver­ti­cal Lift pro­gramme, and F-18 and F-16 fighter air­craft, are all po­ten­tial game chang­ers for our com­mer­cial and de­fence co­op­er­a­tion.”

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