In a significant development, India’s Defence Ministry has granted approval for the acquisition of Predator (MQ-9 Reaper) drones from the United States. The decision comes just days ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s scheduled visit to the US, during which he is expected to discuss bilateral relations and strategic partnerships with US President Joe Biden. The final decision on the drone deal will be made by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).
The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), the highest decision-making body in India’s Defence Ministry for acquisitions, gave its approval for the Predator drone deal during a meeting held today. Sources within the defence establishment have confirmed that the acquisition proposal will now undergo further procedures before being presented for clearance by the CCS.
The Indian Navy will be the primary beneficiary of this deal, with 15 Predator drones expected to be deployed for surveillance operations in its area of responsibility. The acquisition of these drones will significantly enhance India’s maritime capabilities and bolster its efforts to safeguard its vast coastline and maritime interests.
Simultaneously, the three branches of the Indian armed forces are also planning to procure similar medium altitude and long endurance drones from indigenous sources, emphasizing the country’s focus on promoting domestic defense manufacturing and reducing dependency on imports.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US, scheduled from June 21 to 24, holds immense significance for the India-US relationship. During the visit, he will meet with President Biden at the White House and become the first Indian Prime Minister to address the Joint Meeting of the US Congress for the second time. The invitation extended to Prime Minister Modi to address the US Congress is seen as a testament to the historic bond between the two nations and their shared commitment to global peace and prosperity, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region.
Moreover, during his visit, Prime Minister Modi will address the role of the Indian diaspora in India’s development and growth story. He is set to speak at an invitation-only gathering of diaspora leaders from across the country at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington on June 23. The event has garnered significant interest, with all 838 seats being fully registered, underscoring the enthusiasm and support of the Indian-American community.
The acquisition of Predator drones from the US showcases India’s commitment to enhancing its defense capabilities and strategic partnerships. The procurement of these advanced unmanned aerial vehicles will bolster India’s surveillance operations and contribute to the country’s efforts to ensure maritime security. Prime Minister Modi’s upcoming visit to the US further signifies the growing importance and depth of the India-US relationship, with discussions expected to cover a wide range of issues, including defense cooperation, regional security, and economic ties.
Sources By Agencies