Ahead of Modi visit, Trump administration set to clear sale of 22 predator drones worth $2-$3 billion

Narendra Modi's first meeting with Trump has been scheduled to take place at the White House on June 26. "This is the first very significant sign of the Trump administration being more result oriented in its relationship with India compared to Obama administration," a source told PTI.

By: PTI | Washington | Updated: June 23, 2017 10:22 am
narendra modi, US drone, US surveillance drone, donald trump, modi trump, modi trump meeting, modi US visit, Modi news, US india relations, trump modi meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi (PTI file photo)

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

The deal, estimated to be worth USD two to three billion, has been approved by the State Department, the sources said.

The decision has been communicated to the Indian government and the manufacturer by the State Department Wednesday, according to the informed governmental sources.

“This is the first very significant sign of the Trump administration being more result oriented in its relationship with India compared to Obama administration,” a source told PTI.

The sources, who requested anonymity as the deal has not been formally announced, said the sale of 22 predator drones being manufactured by General Atomics is “a game changer” for US-India relations as it operationalises the status of “major defence partner”.

narendra modi, US drone, US surveillance drone, donald trump, modi trump, modi trump meeting, modi US visit, Modi news, US india relations, trump modi meeting A predator drone (Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The designation of India being a “major defence partner” was decided by the previous Obama Administration, and formally approved by the Congress.

The State Department and the White House did not immediately respond to the questions in this regard. An official announcement is expected soon.

Modi’s first meeting with Trump has been scheduled to take place at the White House on June 26.

According to General Atomics, the Predator Guardian UAV, a variant of the Predator B, can be used for wide-area, long-endurance maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

It can stay in the air for up to 27 hours and can fly at maximum altitude of 50,000 feet.

The Indian Navy made the request for this intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platform last year.

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.

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  1. L
    l s
    Jun 23, 2017 at 5:25 pm
    America is giving obsolute /out-dated F-16 fighter aircraft tech to India, and India thinks it has bagged a good deal. What is the order position of this type of aircraft as on today. Heard orders are drying up very fast, hence the U S is willing to save itself from self-destruction. Drones are O K if they are the latest models.
    Reply
    1. R
      Rakesh S
      Jun 23, 2017 at 4:38 pm
      According to Wikipedia 'MQ-9 Reaper' drone unit costs $16.9 million. 16.9 X 22 would be $371.8 million. Why would it be 3 Billion? looks like 10 times the actual cost. Perhaps I'm missing something.
      Reply
      1. D
        djn
        Jun 23, 2017 at 4:46 pm
        We are reminded of Bofors!
        Reply
      2. D
        djn
        Jun 23, 2017 at 3:51 pm
        This is a 1995 machine. US has the habit of dumping items which is useless on its soil on the developing or poor countries. On one hand, US will supply India these machines for money, on the other hand it will also supply machines free of cost to Pakistan to combat these drones.
        Reply
        1. A
          Anand Prakash
          Jun 23, 2017 at 11:35 am
          Normally it is the sman who goes to the buyer. Here we have an odd case where the buyer pursues the sman. Great going.
          Reply
          1. D
            djn
            Jun 23, 2017 at 10:34 am
            Make in India: first success.
            Reply
            1. O
              Omar Sadiq
              Jun 23, 2017 at 10:31 am
              For each visit to a Western country this Modi makes, it costs the Indian common man on an average of $4-6 Billion dollars. At this rate, is Modi trying to head India towards the way of the former USSR?? Stock piling on weapons and one day the exchequer is broke and only weapons for the people. Having weapons as a deterence is one thing but spending the public money by the billions every month is something else.
              Reply
              1. K
                kmadhukar
                Jun 23, 2017 at 11:39 am
                We don't believe in begging for weapons like you Pakistani do to get weapons free from others . we pay for them . keep begging from China and USA
                Reply
                1. O
                  Omar Sadiq
                  Jun 23, 2017 at 2:46 pm
                  ok, let me explain to you in the baniya language you understand. From your logic about one country buying and one country getting it free I wonder who the smart one is amongst the two nations????
              2. M
                MyTake
                Jun 23, 2017 at 10:23 am
                US and India working together can change the course of action for the entire world. Both being democracy it does not make sense why they are not putting 110 each ,into it
                Reply
                1. M
                  Murthy
                  Jun 23, 2017 at 9:27 am
                  Preemptive fake news planted by In di ots. Remember that India allowed free access to China aligned Sri L a n k a's intelligence agencies during the Eelam war openly selling off their 70 million Tamil population. Indics don't have any ethics and the technology is sure to be sold to Russia by lbetrayal. Like the west was fooled to join India in war against Eelam only to be fooled by Sri L a n k that aligned with China after the war. It was an international debacle and b er! Mistakes are made not to be repeated!
                  Reply
                  1. D
                    Damodar
                    Jun 23, 2017 at 9:59 am
                    I agree
                    Reply
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