Amid rife tensions with China and Pakistan, India plans to buy 30 armed drones from the US in order to boost its defence.
According to officials, India will approve in April the $3 billion purchase of 30 MQ-9B Predator drones manufactured by San Diego-based General Atomics.
Currently, India’s drones can only be used for surveillance and reconnaissance but 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.
According to a Livemint report, The MQ-9B drone can fly for about 48 hours and carry a payload of about 1,700 kilograms (3,700 pounds). It will give the Indian Navy the ability 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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