Navy ready to push for Predator drone acquisition with Modi government | Latest India News


With the Indo-American two plus two dialogue slated for December, all eyes are on the Indian Navy to ask the Defense Acquisition Council (DAC) to announce the purchase of $ 3 billion worth of armed Predator drones. of Washington to build India’s capacity beyond the horizon. .

According to officials based in New Delhi and Washington, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh and Foreign Minister S Jaishankar will meet with their US counterparts, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, in December at Washington, with both sides on the verge of finalizing dates. .

While stabilizing the drought facing Taliban-ruled Afghanistan and the Indo-Pacific in light of aggressive Chinese postures will be a priority, it is possible that both sides will announce the Predator deal on condition that government processes are completed. It is understood that the Indian Navy is ready to relocate the Acceptance of Need (AON) DAC for the acquisition of 30 General Atomics MQ 9A Predator drones, each of the three services receiving 10 Hell- missile firing drones. Fire. As the Indian Navy already operates two Predator drones leased for maritime domain knowledge beyond the Strait of Malacca to the Gulf of Aden, the procurement process is handled by them for the Indian Air Force and Indian army. Despite initial reservations from the Indian Air Force, all services are on board when Predator is acquired.

“The process is underway. It involves the approval of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) after authorization from the DAC. The announcement can be made as long as the process is completed before the two plus two dialogue, otherwise it will be announced later, ”said a senior Indian Navy Southern bloc official, confirming that the United States had clarified to their satisfaction with the project.

By the way, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had met the CEO of General Atomics, which is the leading American manufacturer of armed drones, during his visit to Washington on September 23.

In the context of the United States obtaining authorization to use Pakistani airspace to maintain over-the-horizon capabilities to target terrorists in Afghanistan, India must also strengthen its capabilities. drones, because the local development of armed drones still has some way to go. “Pakistan’s refusal to allow the United States to use its airspace for operations beyond the horizon in Afghanistan must be taken with a grain of salt, as should its refusal of the presence of the head of al-Qaeda Osama bin Laden in the past. One of the main reasons the United States did not want India to respond to Islamabad after the terrorist attacks on Parliament and Kaluchak was due to the presence of American special forces in Pakistan after the September 11 attacks. This was passed on by then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to India in 2002, ”said a Pakistani observer.

India’s need for armed Predator drones has increased as China not only acquired the capability but sold the Wing Loong armed drone to Pakistan, which can launch up to 12 air-to-surface missiles. Turkey, a close ally of Islamabad, has also acquired the capability of armed drones with the Bayraktar series of drones used in Libyan and Syrian theaters and by Azerbaijan against Armenia in the Nagorno-Karabakh war in 2020.


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