US State Department Approves $4 Billion Drone Deal with India

Web DeskFebruary 2, 20243093 min
US State Department Approves $4 Billion Drone Deal with India

The US State Department has given the green light for the potential sale of $4 billion worth of military equipment, including 31 armed drones, missiles, and related gear, to India. The deal, which was initially announced during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US in June 2023, faced a delay in December as a Senate committee investigated an alleged Indian assassination plot on US soil.

The approved deal comprises 31 MQ-9B SkyGuardian drones, 170 AGM-114R Hellfire missiles, 310 laser small diameter bombs, communications and surveillance equipment, and a precision glide bomb. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems is set to be the principal contractor for the transaction. The deal’s confirmation awaits approval from the US Congress.

Also Read: Biden receives briefing on drone attack targeting US soldiers in Jordan

Senator Ben Cardin, who had placed a “hold” on the agreement pending the investigation, revealed that he lifted the hold after the US government committed to a thorough investigation of the alleged assassination plot. The US had accused India of plotting to kill an American citizen advocating for Khalistan, an independent Sikh state separate from India.

“The [Biden] administration has demanded that there be investigation and accountability in regards to the plot here in the United States, and that there is accountability within India against these types of activities,” stated Senator Cardin.

India’s foreign ministry denied any involvement in the murder plot and emphasized the formation of a high-level inquiry committee to address the US government’s security concerns.

The Pentagon, in its statement on Thursday, highlighted that the proposed drone deal with India aligns with US foreign policy and national security objectives, aiming to strengthen the strategic relationship between the two countries.

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