The United States on Tuesday cleared the sale of predator Guardian drones that India had sought in order to enhance its Navy’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. The key defence agreement was signed after US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged for security co-operation between the two countries when they met earlier in the day.
The US and India look forward to working together on advanced defence equipment and technology at a level commensurate with that of America’s closest allies and partners, said a joint statement issued after the Modi-Trump Summit at the White House. The statement also added, “Reflecting the partnership, the US has offered for India’s consideration the sale of Sea Guardian Unmanned Aerial Systems, which would enhance India’s capabilities and promote shared security interests.”
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.
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. “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,” he said.
This defence agreement comes days after media reports suggested that America had cleared the sale of 22 predator Guardian drones. The ‘game changer deal’ will boost the Indian maritime surveillance capabilities and is estimated to cost at least $2-3 Billion.
(With inputs from PTI)