Predator drones Modi's top agenda during US visit
The drones which are currently in India's arsenal are mainly for intelligence gathering and surveillance. Photograph: (Reuters)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided to target drone procurement as one the main agendas during his two-day US visit which begins on Sunday.
Isreal which is the biggest drone exporter in the world has been eyeing India's drone market for several years now, PM Modi is set to visit Isreal next month to clinch Heron TP drones.
Israel had displayed the Heron TP drone at the AeroIndia show in Bengaluru in February to lure the Indian government. The drones which are currently in India's arsenal are mainly for intelligence gathering and surveillance.
India already ranks first among drone-importing nations, according to SIPRI(Stockholm International Peace Research Institute).
The Predator drones have been on India's radar for several years but the request to buy them has been constantly turned down earlier by the Obama administration. India hopes under Trump they will be able to push the Predator drone deal.
Sources have told Reuters there is some concern in the State Department that if India were to get the surveillance drones, New Delhi would renew its push to acquire armed drones, which its military has eyed ever since they were deployed by US forces against militants in Pakistan.
US export laws prohibit the transfer of arms to a country unless it is fighting alongside US forces.