Washington: India and the US are keen on the early completion of a deal worth over USD 3 billion. For 30 MQ-9B fighter-bomber armed drones, which will help. New Delhi strengthen its overall surveillance apparatus along. The Line of Actual Control (LAC) and the Indian Ocean.
More than five years in the works, “the ball is now in India’s court,” officials familiar with. The development said on Wednesday, without elaborating.
The MQ-9B fighter armed drones — 10 each for the three services — are seen as a key. Part of India’s national security and defense needs.
Officials did not elaborate but denied. Any bureaucratic hurdles or regulatory issues were involved.
“I have to take it back and examine it,” Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military. Affairs Jessica Lewis told reporters when asked about the delay. In the deal announced in the summer of 2017.
It has been hanging for quite some time due to reasons unknown to the public. Yet, visiting National Security Adviser Ajit K Doval is believed to have discussed. It during a meeting with top American leadership including his counterpart Jack Sullivan.
During the meeting, it is believed that both sides expressed. Their interest in fast-tracking the drone deal. India is keen that an early decision would help. It secure early delivery of the MQ-98 fighter-bomber armed drone. That would strengthen its national security and surveillance. Not only in the Indian Ocean but also along the LAC.
The Biden administration is eager to sign the deal as soon as possible, which would create jobs. And be politically profitable before next year’s presidential election. According to people familiar with the development.
“The MQ-9B will enable its Indian military users to fly farther. Spend more time in the air and conduct a greater variety of missions than any other similar plane. SkyGuardian and SeaGuardian can provide full-motion video. Virtually any conditions , day or night, as well as. Other types of detailed sensing with their onboard systems.” General Atomics Global Corporation Chief Executive Vivek Lal told PTI.
“The plane can also carry a variety of specialist payloads if they need to be adapted to a specific mission. A SkyGuardian becomes a SeaGuardian. For example, when it carries a 360-degree maritime search radar. That gives users a quality of maritime domain awareness. No other way. cannot be achieved,” he said.
Artificial intelligence, machine learning and other cutting-edge technologies help. Unlock the rich feed of insights from these plane, analyze it. And distribute it to those who need it for quick decision-making, Lal said.
“Other payloads include communications relays. So the plane can act as a node connecting forces over land or sea. Or other intelligence, surveillance or military systems. These plane can conduct search and rescue, assist in firefighting. customs Can assist the authorities, augment the navy. And undertake many other tasks,” he said.
“In short, the MQ-9B is the premier multi-role, long-endurance remotely piloted plane today. It is in high demand. Japan, Belgium, Great Britain and several. Other countries are flying or in the process of flying. them,” Lal said. .
Earlier in the day, Assistant Secretary of State. For Political Military Affairs Lewis told reporters. That India-US defense ties have gained momentum.
“When we look at the relationship with India. And our security cooperation with India and defense with India. Over the last 10 years or so, we’ve really seen it grow and evolve and change. In a very positive way,” Lewis said in response to a question.
“I think all the discussions (during this week’s ICET dialogue) are in that context,” he said. A day after the two countries launched ambitious initiatives. On critical and emerging technologies.
“Everything from consideration of Indian procurement and US systems and India’s competition. When they compete for certain systems. Just the across-the-board relationship between our Department of Defense, the Ministry of Defense. So we see that as one. Where we want to continue to work closely. ,” he said.
“Without getting into the details of the conversation. I think it’s a very rich conversation right now. And one that we’re deeply committed to not just continuing but growing,” Lewis said.
Responding to a question, the State Department official said. The US is ready to help India diversify its defense needs.
“When it comes to India, I think there are a lot of options. Obviously, we need to work on those with the Indian government, see what the needs are. But I think there are a lot of options in terms of us. Being able to find extra measures, ways to cooperate.