To counter China, India is believed to procure 30 armed drones, namely 30 MQ-9 Reaper from the US which is worth $3 Billion. The approval will be finalised during Defense Acquisition Meeting led by Rajnath Singh which will be further strengthened by Lloyd Justin’s visit.
The US Defense Secretary, Llyod Justin would be visiting India as part of his international tour on 19th and 20th March, said Ministry of Defense on Saturday. He is expected to meet Rajnath Singh, the Defense Minister and other signatories of the government, the Ministry said in a statement.
The Ministry said that Austin’s visit to India as part of his overseas travel emphasizes the strength of the US-India strategic partnership and both sides were expected to discuss ways to further strengthen bilateral defense cooperation and exchange views on regional security challenges and maintain a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region. It said that discussions regarding defense cooperation would also focus on how both countries could consolidate military-to-military cooperation and defense trade and industry cooperation.
Austin would be visiting the headquarters of US Indo-Pacific Command Headquarters in Hawaii on the 13th of March followed by visits to Japan, Republic of Korea and India. This will be the first Cabinet-rank official visit since Joe Biden assumed office. China’s “expansionary territorial ambitions are also on display along its western border, where the PLA has been engaged in a standoff with Indian forces along the Line of Actual Control since May 2020″, commented Admiral Philip S Davidson, US Navy Commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command. He remarked that the PLA has not yet withdrawn from several forward positions which it seized during the initial clash and the escalation of tensions between India and the PRC has led to casualties between both sides.