India has shown interest in purchasing patrol drones from the US and has sent a letter regarding the same. These drones, India said, will help the country in the protection and vigilance of its maritime resources in the Indian Ocean.
New Delhi has sent this letter of request (LoR) a week back, reports Indian Express. This development comes within a fortnight of India’s inclusion in the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and recognised by the US as major defense partner.
India wants to purchase Predator Guardian UAVs from General Atomics, the letter cited. The drones provide high altitude, wide area and long endurance capabilities which will help India in protecting its maritime assets.
These drones have the capacity to fly at a height of 50,000 feet and monitor movements of objects as small as a football. These drones can fly non-stop for 24 hours.
India is looking at buying around 250 such drones in the next few years that may cost the country up to $5 billion.
This initiative is part Indian government’s effort to speed up its maritime defense system and prevent any untoward intrusion like Mumbai terrorist attack in 2011.
The report said India had previously shown interest in purchasing these drones from the US, but the Obama administration was unable to process these request as India was not a member of MTCR.
After India got the MTCR membership earlier in June, the US has started looking into the proposal and is believed to be moving ahead with the next phase of letter of acceptance.
The issue of drones was discussed by the Prime Minister with President Obama who gave a favourable response.
Referring to the India-US joint statement on June 7 at the White House, the report quoting some sources said the two leaders reiterated the importance they attach to ensure freedom of navigation and overflight and exploitation of resources as per international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and settlement of territorial disputes by peaceful means.