India is considering the purchase of US Predator drones to boost its combat capabilites along the vast land borders with Pakistan and China.
India also needs the drones to keep a closer eye on the Indian Ocean, Economic Times reported Monday.
The defense defense minister Manohar Parrikar will be flying Monday to meet the obama government and will be asking the US to provide India with lethal drone technology.
India has already acquired surveillance drones from Israel to monitor the mountains of Kashmir, a disputed region .
The defense minister is scheduled to meet his the US counterpart Ash Carter on Monday. Being the sixth meeting of two parties, they are expected to sign an extensive defense deal, according to which both the parties agree to support one another for its military needs.
Whereas, in the past the US had refused to deliver armed predator drones to India, assuming that India would use the weapons against Pakistan. During that time, the US had sought cooperation from Pakistan in the fight against al-Qaeda.
However, having the geopolitical landscape shifted recently towards battling against IS militants, the US has given green signal to the south Asian country to equip lethal unmanned aerial vehicles.
India had formally applied for membership in the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in June of 2015, and with the support of the US and France became a member on June 27, 2016. This also increased the likelihood that the US would be willing to engage in sharing of drone technology with India under the controlled protocols of the regime.
The Defense Minister is expected to point to Pakistan’s inaction against militant groups like Lashkar-eTaibi (LeT) and Jaish-eMuhammad (JeM) that pose a direct threat to the national security of India in order to justify the transfer of drone technology.
India is also hoping to convince the US to provide India with the rights to manufacture the US fighter jet under "Make in India" initiative of the present government.
The Indian navy wants them for surveillance in the Indian Ocean as 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.