The White House will formally announce the recently-approved $2 bn ‘Guardian’ drone deal for the Indian Navy, the first for a non-NATO country, at the end of a meeting between Modi and Trump. The deal’s clearance, apart from bolstering defence ties with India, gives a boost to India plans of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems that makes the predator drones.
Sources told FE that General Atomics is in talks with local companies here to build next-generation weapons and support systems based on advanced electromagnetic technologies here to take advantage of Modi’s Make in India programme. The company has already established a base in India and has roped in Vivek Lall as CEO for this purpose.
In fact, the Guardian drone deal was spearheaded by Lall, who has worked under various US administrations. Lall had previously worked for US-based Raytheon, NASA and headed Boeing’s India operations. In recent years, the US has become one of India’s largest defence suppliers, with deals totaling nearly $14 bn billion now, up from less than $300 million eight years ago.