Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Donald Trump Meet: US clears sale of Guardian drones to India

 

The US has cleared sale of predator Guardian drones to India with the two countries pledging to deepen their defence and security cooperation.

The joint statement issued after talks between US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the two countries look forward to working together on advanced defence equipment and technology “at a level commensurate with that of the closest allies and partners of the United States.”

Earlier in his remarks Modi said, there is increasing possibilities for enhancing cooperation in order to protect our strategic interests that will continue to determine the dimensions of our partnership’.

“President Trump and I have also spoken about strengthening bilateral defence technology and our trade and manufacturing partnership, which we believe will be mutually beneficial to us. We also discussed international issues and our common strategic interests in this country,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.

US President Donald Trump said. the security partnership between the US and India is incredibly important.

The US has cleared the sale of 22 unmanned Guardian drones to India, according to sources said on Friday, a deal being termed as a “game changer” ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington for his maiden meeting with President Donald Trump.

The deal, estimated to be worth $2 to 3 billion, has been approved by the State Department, the sources said.

President Trump also welcomed India’s move to join the United States as an Observer in the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium. “President Trump and I have also spoken about strengthening bilateral defence technology and our trade and manufacturing partnership, which we believe will be mutually beneficial to us. We also discussed international issues and our common strategic interests in this country,” said PM Modi in his remarks.

 

Donald Trump also reiterated the importance of a successful security partnership between the United States and India
Image Courtesy: The Statesman

Donald Trump also reiterated the importance of a successful security partnership between the United States and India. “Our militaries are working every day to enhance cooperation between our military forces, and next month they will join together with the Japanese navy to take part in the largest maritime exercise ever conducted in the vast Indian Ocean,” Trump said.

The drones can be used for wide-area, long- endurance maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

Both the strategic nations also announced their intention to build on the implementation of their “White Shipping” data sharing arrangement that can strengthen the maritime domain awareness of the countries. With the upcoming MALABAR naval exercise that involves the United States, Japan and India, the leaders of both the countries have decided to look at new exercises and enhance their engagements on shared maritime objectives.

White Shipping agreement is to improve data sharing on cargo ships, expanding their maritime cooperation and partnership across Indian Ocean region and the Pacific.

In a late night statement, the White House said completion of these sales would increase bilateral defence trade to nearly USD 19 billion, supporting thousands of US jobs. “If selected, United State offer to sell F-16 and F/A-18 fighter aircraft to India would represent the most significant defence cooperation between the US and India to date,” the White House said.

According to the White House, the United States remains a reliable provider of advanced defence articles in support of India’s military modernisation efforts.

US Aerospace expert Dr Vivek Lall of General Atomics who was pivotal in India acquiring Boeing P8 ISR technology, is believed to have played a key role in fast tracking the decision-making process of the Trump administration.

Dr. Vivek Lall, an aerospace and defence expert, has held various key positions with his last stint as CEO and President of Reliance New Ventures Ltd. Reliance Industries Limited.  Dr. Lall was heading the Boeing (Defence and Space) operations in India from 2007 till April 2011.

Dr. Lall has now joined the US-based global defense and nuclear giant General Atomics as the global Chief Executive for international Commercial Strategic Development for General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems.

General Atomics is a defense contractor headquartered in San Diego, California, specializing in nuclear physics including nuclear fission and nuclear fusion.  The company also provides research and manufacturing services for remotely operated surveillance aircraft, including the Predator drones; airborne sensors; and advanced electric, electronic, wireless, and laser technologies.

“On defence cooperation, there was a sense that combination of convergence and regular exchanges on policy, the fact that today we are major partners in exercises with each other, all these underline the fact that India and the US recognise each other key defence partners,” Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar told reporters at a news conference.

“This was really an occasion for us to send a message that India was a reliable dependable partner, that was fully reciprocated on the American side,” Jaishankar said.

The Indian Navy made the request for this intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platform last year. The Guardian has cutting edge technologies that do not exist in the current navy arsenal. This maritime capability will bolster the capabilities of the Indian Navy which has procured other advance technologies including Boeing P-8 aircraft recently.

Earlier, in his remarks to the media, Modi said defense cooperation between India and US was very significant in the light of security challenges. ”

“Peace, prosperity and stability in the Indo-Pacific region are the main aims of our strategic cooperation. The increase of possibilities in the region and securing our strategic interests from emerging challenges will guide the parameters of our cooperation. We will continue to work with the US in this,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.

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