India may make a pitch to purchase armed Predator drones made by General Atomics when the US Defence Secretary, Ash Carter visits India next week.
India is already is in talks with the United States to purchase 40 Predator surveillance drones, Reuters said quoting unnamed Indian officials, adding that this was a possible first step towards acquiring the armed version of the aircraft.
The US government late last year cleared General Atomics' proposal to market the unarmed Predator XP in India. It was not clear when the delivery of the drones would take place.
The Indian navy wants them for surveillance in the Indian Ocean, where the pilotless aircraft can remain airborne for 35 hours at a stretch, at a time when the Chinese navy is expanding ship and submarine patrols in the region.
New Delhi has already acquired surveillance drones from Israel to monitor the mountains of Kashmir, a disputed region.
India has a huge requirement of drones, both armed and surveillance types for all three of its military services. It recently floated an RFI for the purchase of mini drones for reconnaissance purposes.