In the firsts, the United States has offered India, the armed version of the Guardian drone that were authorised for sale as unarmed only for surveillance purposes.
Vexed by the India-Russia mega military arm deal and the progressing India-Iran oil trade, and the Trump administration’s overhaul of US arms export policy, the United States has offered India – something that nobody has ever been offered – the armed version of the famous Guardian drone. For the US, the armed Guardian drone deal will expand the American defence industry and create more jobs and also build stronger relationships with allies. While for India, this will be the first unmanned high-tech drone that can be used at the tensed borders with Pakistan as well as China.
If the deal is affirmed with India, it will be the first time for the US selling the large armed drone to a country outside NATO alliance. Washington will sell the drones under a new policy that allows trade of American lethal drones which can fire missiles and also carry out surveillance – available in a number of sizes. To seal the deal, the US government will apply lenient rules on the arms export rule that is known as “presumption of denial”.
However, the administrative hurdle over the deal is that US will require India to sign up to a communication framework – which could be too intrusive for India to agree upon. Also, the cost factor and integration of the new weapon system into existing arm artillery of India is still a problem. Besides this, the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) India assessment insists on more advanced weapon systems – as the Indian army doesn’t was a drone for just surveillance, but also to target down intruders in land and sea. While the deal might still have a lot of “ifs and buts”, the offer is symbolically seen as an agenda at the cancelled 2+2 meeting of foreign and defence ministers that was set for July.