US approved drones, missile deal with India concerning ‘chinese influenence’
The US approved the sale of 31 armed drones, missiles and other equipment to India for nearly $4bn.
The US India deal was announced during Narendra Modi’s state visit to the White House in Dec, 2023.
The sale is interpreted to countering Chinese influence in the Indo-Pacific maritime safety and surveillance. The deal will now be confirmed after approval from the US Congress.
The US State Department said in a statement that the deal will support America’s foreign policy and national security interests by helping India in improving “political stability, peace, and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia region”.
It includes the sale of 31 armed MQ-9B SkyGuardian drones, 170 AGM-114R Hellfire missiles and 310 laser small diameter bombs, communications and surveillance equipment and a precision glide bomb.
There were rumors of a blockade on the deal amid investigations over an assassination plot (American Sikh citizen Gurpatwant Singh Pannun).
The federal prosecutors in the Justice Department had accused Indian government agents of orchestrating a plot to assassinate separatist leader Gurpatwant Singh.
A government spokesperson said the US had “conveyed our expectations that anyone deemed responsible should be held accountable”.
Pentagon said the proposed drone deal with India “will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by helping to strengthen the US-Indian strategic relationship”.