Days ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit, the US has cleared the sale of the state-of-the-art Guardian UAV technology to India, to further mutual security interests to protect the Indian Ocean. This is the first significant progress after India gained membership of the exclusive Missile Technology Control Regime and the US named India as a major defence partner. The Indian Navy has been awaiting the transfer of this technology since last year. New Delhi reckons that clinching a deal on the purchase of 22 unarmed drones would be a litmus test on the Trump Administration’s approach to the India-US defence ties that flourished under Barack Obama. It is another matter the Guardian UAV proposal was kept in abeyance by Obama during the last leg of his tenure.
Sources said the deal would pave the way for other key technology sales to India. The White House gave strong positive leadership for the US administration to approve the sale of Guardian UAV technology to India, they added. The “Gaurdian” are Category 1 aircraft with state-of-the-art technologies. The US-based General Atomics built ‘EMALS’ as well as Guardian unmanned aircraft are cutting edge technologies that can help both countries with their common maritime security objectives.
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Acknowledging India’s positive contributions to regional security and stability, including in matters beyond the maritime space, the two countries have already announced their agreement to further consultations in maritime domain awareness (MDA) area. As reported by FE earlier, the White House is keen on securing the Asia Pacific and India is a key player in that to counter the Chinese threat.