Negotiations between India and the United States to procure 30 MQ-9B Predator armed drones have been going on for over five years. Officials, who know of the discussions, ruled out any bureaucratic hurdle or regulatory issues involved. The negotiations have lingered on for unknown reasons. The multi-role, long-endurance remotely-piloted aircraft is much sought after across the world.
It’s possible that a three billion dollar agreement will help India strengthen its comprehensive surveillance system along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and the Indian Ocean. The ball is now in New Delhi’s court, authorities said, adding that the negotiations between India and the United States, which have been ongoing for more than five years, are now showing some movement.
For each of the three services, ten MQ-9B predator armed drones were required as part of India’s overall national security and defence requirements. Officials who are aware of the conversations ruled out any potential regulatory or administrative obstacles. Unknown factors may be the cause of the prolonged negotiations.
Indian And American Negotiators On MQ-9B Predator Drone
In discussions with senior American leadership, including his colleague Jake Sullivan, that Indian National Security Advisor Ajit K. Doval held while in the United States, according to officials, the Predator agreement was brought up once more.
It is assumed that both parties emphasised their desire to see the drone transaction expedited during the discussions. In order to improve its national security and surveillance along its land border with China and the Indian Ocean, India intends to purchase armed MQ-9B Predator drones. A multibillion dollar agreement will benefit the Biden administration politically and help create jobs in the run-up to the 2016 presidential elections.
Vivek Lall, Chief Executive Officer of General Atomics Global Corporation, claims that India would be able to perform a wider range of missions with the MQ-9B than it could with any other drone. It has a greater operating range and can stay in the air for longer. The SkyGuardian and SeaGuardian can transmit full-motion video in almost any situation, day or night, thanks to their onboard technologies.
The aircraft can also be modified based on the task. The SkyGuardian can therefore provide its operator with superior marine domain awareness when equipped with a 360-degree maritime search radar.
According to Lall, advanced technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence enable these aircraft to produce a rich feed of insight that can be analysed and distributed to people who need it to make timely judgements.
The MQ-9B Predator drone may support naval troops, conduct search and rescue operations, assist customs officials, put out wildfires, and perform a variety of other missions. The long-endurance, multi-role remotely piloted aircraft is highly sought after all over the world. According to Lall, numerous other countries—including Belgium, Japan, and Great Britain—are either flying the Predator or are on schedule to do so.
India wants to buy a fleet of Predator armed drones from the US to expand its surveillance capabilities along the Himalayan frontier with China. A $3 billion (about Rs 24,500 crore) contract to purchase 30 MQ-9 Reaper drones, 10 for each of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, is being discussed.
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