Udayavni Special

India to strike deal with US for 30 armed drones at $3 billion to counter China, Pak


Team Udayavani, Mar 10, 2021, 11:30 AM IST

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New Delhi: Amid rife tensions with China and Pakistan, India plans to buy 30 armed drones from the US in order to boost its sea and land defense.

According to officials with knowledge of the matter, India will approve, in April, the $3 billion purchase of 30 MQ-9B Predator drones manufactured by San Diego-based General Atomics.

The addition of armed drones will add to India’s military capabilities. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is in the midst of a 10-year, $250 billion military modernization.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is expected to visit India in March, while President Joe Biden will soon join counterparts from India, Japan and Australia in the first-ever meeting of the “Quad” bloc.

The MQ-9B drone can fly for about 48 hours and carry a payload of about 1,700 kilograms (3,700 pounds). It will boost intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities of the Indian Navy allowing them to better monitor Chinese warships in the southern Indian Ocean, and equip the army to engage targets along the disputed India-Pakistan border in the Himalayas.

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