Washington : With just three days to go for the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump, the US Foreign Ministry has granted approval for selling 22 ‘predator guardian drone’to India. As a result, India would get drones based on extremely advanced technology which could prove significantly important for India’s defense. The US has expressed confidence that this business deal of nearly 200 crore dollars would prove to be a ‘game changer’ from the point of view of India – US defense partnership. Pakistan had made a demand that the US should not supply these drones to India.
Last year, the US had given India, the status of ‘The most strategically cooperative nation’. After which it became possible for the US to make a sell of these drones based on an ultramodern technology. The US government sources made it clear that the decision to give the ‘predator guardian drone’ planes to India was conveyed by the US Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Indian government. The Prime Minister of India was on a tour of the US and a bilateral meeting of the two heads of the States was scheduled. This was the Indian Prime Minister’s first visit to US after Trump had assumed the reins of President’s office in US. Hence the decision taken by US prior to their meeting seemed to carry more weight.
The US is currently utilizing the ‘predator guardian drone’ in Afghanistan. However, the aircrafts that would be provided to India would be unarmed. These would be the ‘Predator – B’ edition of the drone aircrafts. In spite of this, the technology of the drone aircrafts is extremely sensitive. These aircrafts prove to be very useful for surveillance under any weather conditions. From a height of 50 thousand feet these aircrafts can keep patrolling continuously for 27 hours.
Considering the defense related challenges posed in the Indian Ocean region, the Indian Navy felt the need for multipurpose drones capable of long term surveillance. With that view in mind the Indian Navy had made a request for these drone aircrafts. Last year, when the Indian Prime Minister was on a visit to US, he had discussions with the then US President Barack Obama on the subject and a Letter Of Request (LOR) concerning ‘predator drones’ was submitted. The news, that the request from India is under consideration by US, was received a few months ago. However, no decision on this matter was possible during Obama’s term in office.
However it seems that the Trump administration has moved fast and taken a decision in this matter. Earlier, the US had provided Indian Navy with ‘Boeing P-8‘ surveillance aircrafts. With the inclusion of the ‘predator guardian drone’ in the fleet, Indian Navy ‘s defense preparedness seems well poised.
In the meanwhile, the US has given India the status of ‘The most strategically cooperative nation’, last year. India is the only nation which has received this status from the US. Hence it is presumed that India could receive sensitive technologies from the US. With the decision to give India the ‘predator guardian drone’, the US has moved one step forward in that direction. In comparison with the previous Obama administration, it is becoming clear that the present Trump administration has taken a more positive role in providing India with defense equipments based on ultramodern technology. Analysts have expressed confidence that there would be positive outcomes which would influence bilateral relations of both the nations.
Although, earlier India had been promised with a lot of sensitive and modern technology by the US, nothing much was received by her. However some Indian analysts claim that Trump administration could be a different story.