Modi Govt on Advance Drone shopping spree

India is boosting its defence capabilities to get ahead of Pakistan in the arms race in the South Asian region. From acquiring the world’s most advanced air defence missile system from Russia to Rafale fighter jets from France, now the country will get its first weaponised drones for the Indian Army from Israel. The drones will give the army the capability to carry out classified cross borders missions on the lines of the surgical strike in PoK.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit Tel Aviv in the first week of July and Defence Ministry officials are busy in giving a final shape to the agreement to procure Israeli Heron TP-armed drones, capable to hit target (enemy) with air to ground missiles after tracking it down.

Project code named ‘Cheetah’, to acquire 10 weaponised drones from Israel for $400 million dollar is expected to be signed during Modi’s next month visit, the first ever visit of Indian prime minister to Israel.The Indian Army has been proposing to buy these armed drones in 2011, but the proposal did not get a political backing during the UPA-2 government.

After the US denied to sell its Predator armed drones to India, Israel has come forward to give new heights to strategic partnership to both countries under the Modi government regime.

Till date, Indian security agencies use UAV or drones only for surveillance and reconnaissance missions. Integrated Defence Staff, a tri-service body, wanted to upgrade nearly 40 UAV platforms into weaponised version.In fact, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s diplomatic push which led to India’s entry into the elite club of Mission Technology Control Regime in June last has opened India’s way to procure weaponised drones fitted with missiles and laser-guided bombs. In June last, India became the 35th member of elite MTCR, which enable India to buy high-end missile technology.

Also, Russia has agreed to sell the game changer S-400 S-400 ‘Triumf’ long-range air defence missile system with the capability to destroy incoming hostile aircraft, missiles and even drones at ranges of up to 400 km.

Only Russia and the US have such long range modern air defence weapon system. Even China is eyeing to procure these missiles from Moscow.The ministry of defence is on a shopping spree with nearly 20 billion projects recently approved.

The projects range between Rafale fighter planes and S400 air defence systems along with fast track approvals for Special Forces equipments such as assault rifles, light machine guns etc.

With the procurement, India will be able to do what NATO forces did in Afghanistan of launching remotely control operations on Taliban hideouts, a senior defence officer said. India’s military is trying to equip with more unmanned technologies to gather intelligence as well as boost its firepower along its borders with Pakistan and China.The Indian navy has also joined its demand to have long endurance armed drones to continue surveillance on the Indian Ocean.

Source:-New Indian Express

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