US clears sale of Guardian drones to India, purchase to cost as much as $3 bn

The drone deal was seen in India as a key test of the Indo-US defence partnership. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Jun 27, 2017, 06.04 AM (IST)

The US has cleared the sale of predator Guardian drones to India, PTI reported. 

At their joint statement, delivered from the White House on Tuesday, US President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Modi had pledged to deepen defence and security cooperation.

The US and India look forward to working together on advanced defence equipment and technology at a level commensurate with that of America's closest allies and partners, said a statement issued after the India US Summit at the White House.

"President Trump and Prime Minister Modi pledged to deepen defence and security cooperation, building on the United States' recognition of India as a Major Defence Partner," the statement added.

The drone deal -- India will reportedly buy 22 drones for between $2 to 3 billion -- was being seen as a key test of the India-US relationship. 

India's defence partnership with the US had flourished under former US President Barack Obama, but was seen to be flagging under President Trump. 

According to General Atomics, PTI reported, the Predator Guardian UAV, a variant of the Predator B, can be used for wide-area, long- endurance maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

PTI added that the drone It can stay in the air for up to 27 hours and can fly at maximum altitude of 50,000 feet.

The Indian Navy had asked for the drone last year.

The drone is said to have cutting-edge technologies that do not currently exist in the Indian Navy's arsenal. 

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