With US election around the corner, India trying to hurry up Predator drone deal

India has asked for 22 Predator Guardian drones. The United States has dislodged Russia as the top arms supplier to India. Photograph:( Getty )

Reuters New Delhi, Delhi, India Oct 05, 2016, 08.04 AM (IST)

With the US elections around the corner, India is trying to hurry up one of its defence deals with the country. India had in June asked for 22 Predator Guardian drones and the deal is in an advanced state of negotiation, Reuters reported. 

It added that government officials in New Delhi had said "the two sides hope to make enough progress so only administrative tasks remain by the time President Barack Obama leaves office".  

"It is progressing well. The aim is to complete the main process in the next few months," said one of the officials, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity.

America is now India's largest defence supplier; it used to be Russia. The two countries (India and America) are drawing ever closer militarily; they recently signed the Logistics Support Agreement, allowing the two countries to use each others land, sea and air bases to refuel and resupply, and Delhi is also on the verge of signing a US nuclear reactor deal worth billions of dollars. 

In return, Delhi has got access to high-end military technology, and Washington has pushed other countries to let India into the Missile Technology Control Regime, which cleared the way for the sale of the unarmed Predator.

India's military has also asked for the armed version of the Predator to help target suspected militant camps in Pakistan but US export control laws prohibit such a transfer.

(WION with inputs from Reuters)