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India’s Defense Ministry approves ‘predator drone’ deal ahead of PM Modi’s US visit

Rajnath Singh during his visit to the border areas. (India's Additional Directorate General of Public Information, IHQ of MoD/Released)
June 18, 2023

India’s Defense Ministry has given it’s approval to a deal to procure ‘predator drones’ from the United States. However, the final nod to the acquiring would be taken by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS). Notably this development comes just ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the United States.

The Defense ministry helmed by BJP leader Rajnath Singh gave its nod to acquiring the Predator (MQ-9 Reaper) drones from America, on Thursday.

“The deal for the Predator drones was given approval by the Defense Acquisition Council meeting today. The acquisition proposal will now have to follow a procedure after which it will have to be cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security,” news agency ANI cited officials aware of the development in the defense ministry.

The DAC is the highest body in the Defense Ministry to take decisions on acquisitions. All high value acquisitions are given final approval by the CCS.

The Indian Navy is the lead agency for the deal in which 15 drones will be going to the maritime force for surveillance operations in its area of responsibility.

“This is a capability that Indian armed forces need very badly. It is something that is a very pragmatic decision that our Govt is pursuing…” Vice Admiral SN Ghormade (Retd), former Indian Navy Vice Chief said on Defense Ministry’s approval of Predator drone deal with US.

#WATCH — Vice Admiral SN Ghormade (Retd), former Indian Navy Vice Chief speaks on Defense Ministry’s approval of Predator drone deal with US; says, “…We have a vast maritime area, which we need to keep under surveillance. Apart from that, we have a land border with our western…

— ANI (@ANI) June 15, 2023

The three services also have plans of going in for same type of medium altitude and long endurance drones from indigenous sources.

Meanwhile, PM Modi is scheduled to visit the US from June 21 to 24, where US President Joe Biden will host him at the White House. This will be PM Modi’s first state visit to the US during his nine-year reign as prime minister.

PM Narendra Modi during his visit will also become the first Indian PM to address the Joint Meeting of the US Congress for the second time. Indian Americans said the invitation sent to Prime Minister to address the US Congress serves as a reminder of the historic significance of the relationship between the US and India, reflecting the shared dream and commitment to global peace and prosperity, especially in the Indo-Pacific region.


(c) 2023 the Mint

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