The Trump administration’s relaxation of standards for exporting drones to allies will help India acquire from the US two major surveillance drones that fly at speeds below 800 km per hour — General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper, also known as Predator-B, and Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk, Hindustan Times reported.
As of now only three countries — England, France and Australia — are allowed to buy larger, armed drones from US manufacturers. In a statement, the White House said while the missile control pact is critical in slowing proliferation and promoting peace and security, it is in dire need of modernisation as it applies to unmanned aerial systems (UAS).
According to White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, “This action, which is consistent with the MTCR (Missile Technology Control Regime) guidelines will increase the US’s national security by improving capabilities of its partners and increase economic security by opening the expanding drones market to the US industry.”
“This policy change modernises our approach to implementing our MTCR commitments. It makes it more reflective of the technological realities,” said Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Clarke Cooper. “It helps our allies, it helps our partners meet their urgent national security and commercial requirements,” he added.
(With inputs from agencies)